Over a Beer: If you want to stay healthy, you can’t JUST mountain bike.

Editor’s Note:Over a Beer” is a regular opinion column written by Greg Heil. While Greg is the Editor in Chief for Singletracks.com, the opinions expressed in this commentary are his alone and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Singletracks.com.

Last week I shared with you my vision for a #move366 challenge. Basically, I’ve dedicated myself to getting out and moving every single day, no matter what.

But the key to this challenge is that I’m doing so much more than just riding my bike. Actually, the main goal is to not ride my bike every day.

That may seem odd, but hear me out.

I’ve done biking challenges in the past that consisted of riding 30 days in a row—aka the 30 Days of Biking challenge. In fact, I’ve done it twice.

The problem is, both times I’ve done the challenge, while I enjoyed the actual process, by the end of the challenge I didn’t end up healthier or more invigorated. Instead, both times I ended up with overuse injuries that, in the most extreme case, caused me to have to take way more than 30 days off of the bike.

In the most recent instance, the 30 Days of Biking challenge initiated an overuse injury that only worsened, and was eventually diagnosed as nerve damage from riding. This injury plagued me for over a year and a half, and in fact I still feel the effects of that injury from time to time.

So yeah, I’m over riding every single day in a row. I’d love to, but I’ve learned that my body just can’t handle it. So I’ve decided to focus on adding in more sports to my repertoire. I was focusing more on my skiing over the winter (until I tore my ACL doing said sport—more on that another time), running, hiking, walking, and basically, just doing anything and everything to be active.

Trail running in the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness with my wife, Summer.
Trail running in the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness with my wife, Summer.

Recently, Rebecca Rusch was hosting a Q&A on Niner’s Instagram account, so I decided to ask her opinion on injuries and rehab. I asked her:

Hey @rebeccarusch, serious question for you. I just recently finished your autobiography–great read! I’ve been wondering, though: how do you deal with physical injury and stay motivated in recovery/rehab? Or do you just not get injured? 🙂 aside from illness during adventuring racing and some related lung issues, this doesn’t seem like it was a topic you discussed in your book.

She replied:

Injury: mtbgreg, you are right that I’ve been pretty successful avoiding major injuries in my career. Part of it is luck and a big part of it, I attribute to cross training and participating in lots of different sports. All over body strength is important in keeping us free from overuse injuries. Traumatic injuries: that’s another story. I’ve been lucky there.

So, there you have it, from one of the best mountain bike athletes of all time: diversity is key to avoiding overuse injuries! As for the traumatic ones, fingers crossed that my luck improves!

What about you? What do you do to keep things fresh and stave off overuse injuries?