[column width=”1/2″]There are times when you’re riding a new trail and come across a feature that seems impossible. Maybe it’s a rock garden featuring slippery angled stones with jagged edges or a log see-saw that’s just a little narrower than you’re used to. But after you scope it out, you give it a try – and even though you may not get it on the first try, you’re able to ride the feature in the end.
One of many ways that mountain biking helps participants self-confidence by gently helping you out of your comfort zone until you succeed. We see it happen all the time on some of the local experimental trails, where the trail builders like to work on features that seem tricky at first but are immensely satisfying once the right line is figured out. It takes a few attempts but after we ride that line we’re pretty happy. Dopamine lights up the brain’s reward systems. It’s an exhilarating feeling, figuring something out that seemed totally impossible at first.[/column_text][/column][column width=”1/2″][single_image image=”15604″ img_size=”large”][/column][/row][column width=”1/2″][single_image image=”15605″ img_size=”large”][/column][column width=”1/2″]Repeatedly doing tasks or activities that you can improve in is actually a scientifically proven way of building confidence. In particular, a few psychologists have examined this in the context of outdoor and indoor exercise.
A study by Thomas Plante, Ph.D. and colleagues at Santa Clara University found that outdoor exercise radically increased energy levels – and this boost in energy was also associated with a boost in confidence and self-efficacy, a term for belief in your own abilities to do tasks successfully. This is true of children and adults, increasing self-confidence even with a short bike to work or school.
Enough research has noticed this boost of participants self-efficacy engaging in the outdoor activity that an extensive meta-analysis of these studies has been conducted, finding that self-confidence increased significantly across a range of outdoor recreational activities.[/column_text][/column][/row]