- A study carried out in Australia showed that this sporting activity together with hiking improves health and has a low risk of injury
If mountain biking is your preferred sport, go ahead. A new study establishes that the benefits of this activity outweigh its risks, challenging the common idea that it is always dangerous, causes injuries and is reserved for thrill seekers.
“Mountain biking and hiking are some of the fastest-growing recreational activities in the world, so understanding the spectrum of injuries becomes essential for effective healthcare,” said lead author Paul Braybrook, PhD candidate. at the School of Nursing at Curtin University in Western Australia.
His team analyzed data from dozens of studies around the world that included more than 220,000 injured mountain bikers and more than 17,000 injured hikers to try to identify types of injuries.
For mountain bikers, injuries were primarily to the upper extremities, mostly minor bruises, scrapes and cuts. The hikers had leg injuries, including blisters and ankle sprains.
“Despite a common perception of mountain biking as an ‘extreme’ sport, we found that the majority of reported injuries were low severity,” Braybrook said in a university news release.
“Although there were high numbers of ankle sprains in hikers and arm fractures in mountain bikers, a study of the latter reported that more than half suffered head injuries, highlighting the importance of a good quality helmet.”
The standard for protective gear and equipment in general has risen as the popularity of both sports has grown, Braybrook said. This reduces the risk of serious injury.
“In the case of mountain biking, there has also been a cultural shift from the more extreme or ‘radical’ style of the sport when it first began decades ago in places like Colorado and California,” Braybrook said.
The benefits of mountain biking and hiking include improvements in heart and vascular health, as well as reductions in blood pressure, obesity, cholesterol and the risk of type 2 diabetes, he noted.
“People should take the opportunity to regularly go out to their nearest trail for a walk or hike; “These are fun activities, great for fitness and with only the occasional scratch or bruise likely to result,” Braybrook said.