5 Most Important Health Concerns For Women


Men and women are different in many ways and so there are specific medical conditions unique to women that need special attention in order to maximize quality of life and to prolong life whenever possible. In addition, women can suffer from the same diseases that are normally associated with men. These conditions, too, must be prevented or managed in order to attain a maximum healthy lifetime.

An ounce of prevention is worth a thousand cures. This old saying is never more applicable than in the case of your health and wellness. Risks for many diseases can be decreased greatly, and in many cases, early detection can save women’s lives.

Often, women neglect to consider their health, until it’s too late. Women have busy lives, we work, we take care of the home, kids and spouses, and often we neglect ourselves in the process.

However, imagine living a long life, well into your 80s, enjoying your grandkids, traveling, or simply having the time to relax and do whatever you want in retirement, free of sickness and risk of death from some terminal illness. Now consider the fact that there are so many advances in technology and a wealth of knowledge in modern medicine that living such a long and healthy life is completely possible.

Most Important Health Concerns For Women

Breast Cancer

More than 1 in 9 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. The incidence of breast cancer is less in women who are of normal weight. If you exercise and eat food that keeps your weight down, you can minimize your chances of getting breast cancer. There are also screenings that can aid in early detection.

Important Cancer Screenings

Breast self-exam:
There is controversy as to whether or not a breast self-exam is truly of benefit; however, it doesn’t hurt to check your breasts for lumps at least once a month and to see your doctor if something doesn’t feel right.

CBE:The American Cancer Society recommends that women between the ages of 20 and 30 have CBE (clinical breast exam) that is administered by a doctor once every 3 years. At age 40 and up, the CBE is recommended to be performed once per year.

Mammograms:In addition, regular mammograms are recommended for women 40 and older once per year and should continue as long as they are in good health.

MRI and Mammogram:Women who are considered high risk for breast cancer are advised by the American Cancer Association to get an MRI and a mammogram every year.

High risk includes women who have a 20% to 25% or greater risk for cancer in the Claus model assessment test based on these criteria:

  • Have tested positive for the presence of BRCA1 or BRCA2, both of which are human genes that produce tumor suppressor proteins
  • Have a first-degree relative, such as a parent, sibling, or child with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, but have not had any genetic testing themselves
  • Had x-rays to the chest at any age between 10 and 30
  • Has been diagnosed with Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba, Li-Fraumeni or Cowden syndrome or have any first-degree relative(s)who has or had any of these syndromes

Those women with a lifetime risk of 15% or less for the criteria above are not recommended to do MRI screenings for breast cancer.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading killer of both men and women in the United States. According to the Centers For Disease Control, heart disease is responsible for 29% of deaths in women every year. The real tragedy is that the deaths are typically premature, or a heart attack ends in disability that impacts quality of life, including breathing issues while walking, using stairs, or performing any number of everyday activities due to impairment in mobility. Statistically, women are under-diagnosed when it comes to heart disease, often because both doctors and the women themselves miss the symptoms, which include nausea, and shortness of breath.

According to the American Heart Association, risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Increasing age
  • Genetics and race: those with a family history are at higher risk, along with Mexican-Americans, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, African-Americans,and some Asian-Americans
  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Diabetes

The key to maintaining heart health is to take action early in life because prevention is the best way to avoid heart disease. This means making healthy lifestyle choices, like diet, exercise and not smoking to reduce the overall risks for heart related problems. It is also important to speak with your doctor if you have any of the risks listed above to seek early intervention and appropriate medical advice.


Obesity is becoming an epidemic in developed countries such as the US. Ideally, it would be a good idea to prevent your weight from ever exceeding acceptable levels but if you become obese, you can always start developing good eating and exercise habits at any time in order to lose weight.

You can find out whether or not you are overweight by taking your weight in pounds and dividing it by your height in inches squared, multiplying that by 703. A value over 25 means you are overweight and a value over 30, means you are obese. There are also BMI scales to quickly determine where you land in order to assess obesity.

Obesity poses a number of serious health risks, including, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes (that comes with its own set of hazards) and premature death. You can get control of your weight, and there are many healthy ways to do so. Seeking the guidance of a nutritionist is a great place to start.

Colon Cancer

Women get colon cancer at about the same rate as men. Colon cancer can be completely prevented in most people who get a screening colonoscopy at the age of fifty and every ten years thereafter. Colonoscopies can detect and remove cancer-causing polyps of the colon, virtually eliminating the chances of getting colon cancer.

Those with a family history of colon cancer should have their first screening colonoscopy earlier in life, as early as in their twenties. In addition, diets low in fat and high in fiber can be preventative of ever getting the disease.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a condition of high blood sugar and several serious consequences of high blood sugar that appears to be related to family history and obesity. If you have a family history of diabetes, you should try and keep your weight in the normal range and should have your doctor check a fasting blood sugar on you every 3-5 years. If you are obese, you can still get type 2 diabetes, even if you don’t have a family history.

See your doctor if you have any risk factors for Type 2 diabetes including:

  • Aged over 45
  • Overweight or obesity with a BMI of 35 or more
  • Have pre-diabetes
  • Have had gestational diabetes
  • Have family members who have type 2 diabetes
  • Don’t exercise regularly
  • Have low good (HDL) or high bad (LDL) cholesterol levels
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Members of particular racial or ethnic groups including: African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer can develop in women at any age, usually starting in a woman’s twenties and becoming less prevalent as a woman reaches her seventies. Cervical cancer can be partly prevented by getting a vaccination as early as your teens that protects women against many forms of human papilloma virus or HPV.

HPV infection of the genitals and cervix is a known risk factor for cervical cancer. In addition, women should get routine pap tests from their doctor; the Unites States Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for cervical cancer in women age 21 to 65 years with a Pap smear every 3 years.This involves getting a scraping of cervical cells and putting them under a microscope, looking for precancerous changes. If you are 30 or older, your doctor can recommend a combination of a Pap smear with a human papillomavirus (HPV) test to be conducted every 5 years.

Bottom Line

Always remember that you don’t have to be victim to these health conditions. Screening for some of these diseases on a regular basis and preventing them through a healthy diet and exercise program can help you stay healthy for many years to come.

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6 Ways Coffee Is Good For You

Coffee is the world’s most popular beverage. It is grown in many countries, and comes in endless flavors, strengths, and varieties.

And guess what? That’s perfectly fine. While many would have you to believe, drinking coffee is bad for you, the research shows otherwise. Coffee (in moderation) can actually be very beneficial to your body, skin, and brain.

Here are 6 of the many reasons you should start every day with a cup of coffee. …or Joe as it is commonly referred to in the United States.

#1 – It Provides You with a Wealth of Antioxidants

Most Americans get more antioxidants from coffee than they do from the food they eat. According to a 2005 study, nothing even comes close to providing the amount of antioxidants found in coffee. Yes, fruits and vegetables have a ton of really wonderful antioxidants. However, according to the study, your body absorbs the most antioxidants from coffee. So drink up!

#2 – It Can Help Relieve Stress

The great thing about coffee is you don’t even have to drink it to benefit from it. According to researchers at the Seoul National University, just smelling coffee is enough to help relieve stress. Please know this study was not related to stress itself. Instead, it was related to stress brought on by sleep deprivation. Therefore, when you need a quick pick me up at work as fatigue from lack of sleep hits; drink a cup of coffee to get you going.

#3 – It Can Decrease Your Chances of Developing Liver Cirrhosis

If you drink alcohol this is for you. In 2006, a study was done on 125,000 individuals over the age of 22. In the study, those who consumed just one cup of coffee a day were less likely to develop cirrhosis of the liver. Liver cirrhosis is an autoimmune disease caused by drinking alcohol in excess.

Coffee has protective benefits that can help guard against alcoholic cirrhosis. Those who consume more coffee are less likely to end up hospitalized, or dying, from liver cirrhosis brought on by drinking too much alcohol. Other studies have also shown nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can be preventing by drinking coffee.

#4 – It Can Keep Your Brain Healthy & Active For A Long Time

Want to keep your brain healthier for a longer period of time? Try drinking a cup, or two, of coffee a day. A study done by researchers at the University of Miami and the University of South Florida found that high levels of caffeine could actually delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 4 years. This was based on higher blood levels of caffeine found in individuals over the age of 65.

Please know this is not to say coffee consumption can prevent you from developing Alzheimer’s disease. However, based on the study, drinking a moderate amount of coffee on a regular basis can reduce ones risk of developing this debilitating disease.

#5 – It Can Make You Feel Happier

Feeling a little down and in the dumps? If so, a cup of coffee may be just what you need. The National Institute of Health performed a study on this very issue several years ago. During the study, doctors and researchers found individuals who drink a minimum of 4 cups of coffee a day were less likely to be depressed than those who avoided drinking coffee.

While most would think this is due to the “high” you get from drinking a cup of coffee, research shows that is not the case. You see, you can get the same exact “high” from drinking a can of soda. The difference however is that certain sodas are actually linked to depression.

Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, the doctor who authored this study, told Prevention.com that the reason researchers believe coffee makes you happy is due to the many antioxidants it contains. Soda on the other hand contains no antioxidants at all.

#6 – It Can Make You More Intelligent

Yes, you read that right. Drinking coffee can actually make you smarter. Generally speaking, people will drink a cup of coffee when they are feeling sluggish and sleep deprived. Doing so will often times give you that much-needed jolt that will help you stay alert for a few hours.

According to some reports, coffee does much more than give you an energy boost. It can also make you more intelligent. According to CNN, drinking coffee causes your brain to work more efficiently. The result?A smarter you!

Experts agree that when you drink caffeine your attention span, reaction time, logical reasoning, and vigilance will all improve. All four of these components are associated with overall intelligence, which is why it is believed coffee can make you smarter.

How Much Coffee Should You Drink?

Too much caffeine can lead to anxiety, jitters, and insomnia. Portion control is important to reap the benefits of coffee without its negative effects. The Mayo Clinic says that adults can safely enjoy up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine daily. This amounts to about four cups of your average brew. However, keep in mind that caffeine content varies, for example, a 6-ounce coffee from Starbucks can have 200 mg more of caffeine than that served at Dunkin Donuts.

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How Diet Can Help With Depression

Depression can be offset or even eliminated when your diet consists of nutritional and healthy foods. Indeed, certain foods are not just good for you physically; they also enhance your mental and emotional states as well.

There are many causes of depression and of course, if you feel that depression is a problem you should consult a licensed medical professional to get proper medical advice.

One of the, if not the most important considerations when planning a healthy lifestyle is diet; if you think about it, food is fuel for our body, and its livelihood, substance and wellbeing greatly depends on what we eat. Our physical state is highly affected by diet, so it makes sense that our brains and emotional state will be as well.

The More Colorful the Plate – The Better the Mood

Remember – “The More Colorful the Plate, the Lower the Weight.” That statement and nutritional adage refers to getting rid of the burden of depression too. While an unhealthy diet consisting of processed foods or sugar puts on weight, it apparently extends to how one feels or their emotional health.

You Are What You Eat

Evidently, you are what you eat and the more healthy the diet, the lower the incidences of mood swings or depressive episodes. Studies and research indicates that diets that are not packed with certain vitamins or minerals not only accelerate the aging process but also cause shortages in mood-enhancing chemicals, such as serotonin.

The Key to Alleviating Stress and Elevating One’s Mood

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter as well as a mood stabilizer. Therefore, it plays an important role in alleviating stress, anxiety, and depression. The following foods can increase the amount of serotonin that is produced in the bloodstream and enhance one’s overall outlook and mood.

  • Fruits. One of the less-known types of serotonin-producing foods, fruits such as pineapple, sour cherries, plums and bananas are all good foods to eat to improve one’s mood. In addition, cherries contain melatonin, which is a natural sleep aid.
  • Protein. Eating turkey, which contains tryptophan, increases the manufacture of serotonin in the brain. In turn, the food promotes feelings that are more positive. Other proteins that aid in serotonin production include seafood, eggs, whey protein, and beef. Try to select animal products that have not been raised with hormones, and choose grass fed or pasture raised products.

Another serotonin-boosting protein food is nuts. Nuts boost the manufacture of selenium, which is found to be lacking in patients suffering from depression. Lean meats and legumes contain selenium too.

Because sugar-rich snacks can inhibit the production of serotonin, it is better to replace sugary or processed snacks with more natural foods, and whole foods, such as nuts or fruits and lean protein.

  • Carbohydrates. Most carbs in the diet will boost the level of serotonin and reduce the incidence of depression. Add pasta, whole grain bread, and white potatoes to the menu.
  • Dairy. Dairy products make people feel happier too. Try such dairy foods as cheese and milk, each of which contain mood-boosting chemicals or produce an increase in serotonin.


Nutrients That Ward Off Depression

Beta Carotene

Beta-carotene is also helpful in relieving depression. Some of the foods in this group include cantaloupe, carrots, broccoli, and apricots.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C-rich foods are helpful in fighting depression too. These foods are made up of citrus fruits, such as limes, oranges, and grapefruit.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E not only plays a role in immune system functioning but contributes to nerve health as well – ameliorating any episodes of depression. Nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and wheat germ are all foods that contain vitamin E.

Change the Way You Eat and Increase Your Level of Activity

When it comes to alleviating depression in the diet, a healthy mix of complex carbohydrates combined with fruits and vegetables can help alleviate mood swings and depression in general.

Make sure that any processed snacks, such as chips or packaged cookies, are removed from your shelves and concentrate on eating fresh produce and fish.

Once you start eating healthier, you will exercise more, which can further elevate mood and stave off depression.

In fact, when you take part in an exercise activity, such as walking, jogging, or running, your body produces more of the mood-enhancing hormones called endorphins. Therefore, after a while, your mood will improve just by eating healthier and exercising more.

Research shows that people who follow this kind of approach do not need to take mood-enhancing drugs or anti-depressants if they make healthy eating and regular exercise a routine practice.

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Real Ways Fad Diets Can Harm You

Fad diets are weight loss schemes that promise quick fixes, often involving very strict and extreme eating plans, or very low caloric intake. Unfortunately, these diets do not provide long-term benefits. If anything, they can cause serious health problems.

6 Ways Fad Diets Can Harm You

  1. They Make You Gain Even More Weight

What usually makes fad diets very tempting are the promises of quick weight loss with little effort on the part of the participant. Sure, everyone would love to lose weight in the soonest possible time, with minimal effort and that is always the hook.

Unfortunately, the truth is that yes you can lose weight with fad diets but often it is mostly water weight. Also, fad diets are very hard to stick with, and so while you may lose an initial few pounds, once you resume your normal diet (and everyone always does), you will gain all the weight back, and more often than not, you gain more! This is called rebound weight gain.

Fad diets never implement or address the permanent lifestyle changes required for lasting healthy weight management.

  1. They Can Lead to Nutritional Deficits

Most fad diets restrict your options to specific types of food, thereby eliminating important nutrients the body needs. When you’re limited to a specific type of group, you sacrifice the nutrients that you would otherwise obtain if you were eating a healthy and well-balanced diet.

Carbohydrates are oftentimes considered a no-no in many of these diets, but in reality, restricting carbohydrates can significantly hurt your energy levels, making you feel fatigued. You will not have the necessary fuel to energize your workouts and function effectively on a day-to-day basis.

In reality, complex carbohydrates, like whole grains actually support healthy weight loss because they contain high amounts of fiber that keeps you full longer and prevents sugar spikes in the blood that keeps out of control cravings at bay.

The same misconception goes for fat. Many fad diets attempt to turn fat into a mortal enemy, when in reality, not all fats are bad. In fact, certain types of fats such as omega-3 are necessary for optimum health and mono-saturated fats are required for brain and heart health.

  1. Muscle Wasting and Hair Loss

Fad diets can lead to hair and muscle loss because they are nutrient deficient. For one, protein is a nutrient that you need if you want your hair to be and grow healthy. Not having enough may cause hair fall and brittleness.

Muscle loss is another common problem. Because of the caloric deficits associated with fad diets, the body naturally turns to other means to get that required energy, and as a result, muscle wasting occurs. You do not want to lose your muscle if you are planning to lose weight, because having more muscle mass can help you burn more calories by boosting metabolism even when the body is at rest.

  1. They Ruin Your Body’s Natural Metabolism

Fad diets often dictate you how much to eat and when to eat, which goes against your body’s natural eating pattern. Our bodies are aware when we need to eat and when we have had enough. While fad diets may give you temporary results, there are long-term implications that can affect your health permanently.

Mindfulness is a technique taught in meditation and yoga, and can help you to get in touch with your body and real hunger, and this is a much more effective and healthy way to lose weight.

  1. They Often Lack the Element of Exercise

Most fad diets are too focused on the food intake itself, and neglect the importance of exercise. Since they often advise the intake of very low amounts of calories, exercise is often not recommended, if not restricted. This can be detrimental to your overall health.

  1. They are Not Sustainable

Fad diets are just that – fads. They are not meant to last on a permanent basis. These types of diets promote rapid weight loss in an unreasonable amount of time, rather than a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable for the long term. They never address lifestyle changes, such as choosing an apple for dessert over apple pie and changing your taste accordingly.

Many people can attest that they have lost over 100 pounds over a lifetime in 10-pound spurts. Lose it, and gain it back, lose it, and gain it back, repeatedly in a vicious yo-yo cycle. Usually at the center of this merry-go-round is a fad diet turning the wheel.

How to Spot a Fad Diet

  • Quick fix promises
  • Involvement of “magic foods” or special food combinations
  • Exclusion of a particular food group, for example, carbohydrates
  • Unproven claims that are based on limited scientific study
  • The suggestion that certain food combinations can alter one’s body chemistry

A Better Way

Instead of going for fad diets, the best way to lose weight is a gradual transition to a healthy lifestyle. By combining regular exercise with a healthy balanced diet, you are sure to achieve your weight goals and be able to keep it off for the long term.

Small Changes

Start by making small changes with the foods you choose. Replace three desserts a week with a piece of fresh fruit. Substitute French fries with a side salad or steamed vegetables at lunch two times per week. Then increase it to three times, and so on.

Assess your kitchen and begin to gradually remove all unhealthy snacks and foods from the fridge and cupboard. If you don’t know what is healthy and what isn’t, find out. Replace all that you have removed with better choices.


Begin an exercise regimen by taking a two block walk every day, then keep adding a block every two or three days, you cannot imagine how fast you become acclimated and fit and with gradual increases you will be walking a mile before you know it, without even noticing how you got there!

Do some type of strength training be it with weights or bodyweight exercises three times per week. Building lean muscle mass will boost your metabolism and make you stronger and healthier, which will improve your overall quality of life.

It Works!

It is not difficult to implement small changes that together make for a big difference in your weight, health and how you feel. The best part is that you will NEVER have to go on another diet, fad or otherwise again.

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Mountain Biking 101 for Health and Fitness

Do you enjoy the great outdoors? Then we’ve got just the thing for you – a good old dose of mountain biking.

Not sure what mountain biking is?

It is the sport of using a specialized designed bike, aptly known as a mountain bike to ride on off-road conditions, laden with obstacles or incline surfaces.

Before you get discouraged or scared for that matter, just know that mountain bikes are fitted with special gears, which make your ascent easier than it would be in a normal bike.

How Do I Get Started With Mountain Biking?

Of course, you need the bike. Go down, speak with your local bike specialist, and get the best one that you can afford. There are many choices. Before you start riding, there are also a few other essentials you will need.


Mountain biking is one of the few sports where accessories actually become “necessities” or you may be in for a world of discomfort, so be sure to invest in these:

  • Spandex Shorts– yes, spandex shorts aren’t just a fashion statement, but are essential if you plan to ride and sort of distance. Spandex shorts fix snugly around the legs and groin area, limiting the amount of friction your legs produce from coming into contact with each other, or the seat. This in turn significantly reduces the severity of chafing, a painful condition known very well by those who have ever experienced it. By the way, you do not wear underwear with the shorts!
  • A Well Fitting Helmet– safety is important in any sport, but especially mountain biking where you can take a nasty head injury if you fall over an obstacle. A good helmet needs to fit well, not move around much and not obscure your vision.
  • Puncture Repair Kit and Tire Pump– nothing is worse than heading miles out into deep country and suffer a puncture. Chances are you won’t have cell phone service, so unless you want to spend hours walking back, ensure you prepare for emergencies. These kits are usually small, and will not add any measurable weight to your trip.
  • Water Bottle– this should go without saying, but just in case you forgot…take enough water to last the distance you are riding. A sports drink can also be added to the mix for rehydration of electrolytes.

Master the Technique

These techniques will help make your experience much more enjoyable and less likely to result in injury:

  • Keep Your Hands on the Bars and Not the Brakes– this is especially important on descending, since many new riders are pitched over the front of the bike by having a false handle grip. You can’t grip the brake levers for support, and this is a leading cause of injury to new riders.
  • Shift Often– this is best learned by experience, but as a general rule when ascending use a low-tension gear, and the opposite when going down an incline.
  • Use Positional Movements– ever wonder why some people stand at certain points? It’s for shock absorption and to effectively shift your center of gravity.

Start Simple and Progress

If there is one thing that discourages new mountain bikers from truly enjoying the wonders of mountain biking, it is going too far, too soon. If your start trekking over rough, unfamiliar terrain your first go, the sheer exhaustion and trauma of a likely few falls will discourage you.

Want To ensure you’re in For the Long Term? Try These Tips:

  • Start By Getting A Feel For Your Bike– there’s no better teacher than experience’ learning the best time to shift gears, and when to prop yourself up as opposed to sitting are learned habits.
  • Keep the Journey Short– it is unrealistic to ride a 50-mile journey your first try. It’s best to start slow, and experience the nearby terrain. Couple it with your recovery ability, and you will soon be able to judge how much you are capable of undertaking as you grow in this sport.
  • Take Rides on Weekends– we all have day jobs (most of us at least), so unless you want to be burned out all the time, start by riding on weekends. This provides some much-needed recovery after a tough ride, and functions as a good outlet for stress.

Why Should I Start Mountain Biking?

If you’re looking for an exercise system that can dramatically improve your health, and is also enjoyable, mountain biking is your cup of tea. Consider these reasons to begin with this sport today.

Muscle Building

Mountain biking is different from conventional flat surface road cycling in the sense that the requirements for stability are different on the muscles, offering a very good resistance workout.

Have you ever noticed the muscular leg development of some extreme mountain biking athletes? Now compare that to a basic road racer. The difference is astounding.

This is due in large part to the recruitment of Types 1 and 2 muscle fibers, helping develop mass, strength and stamina at the same time.

Perfect Tool for Incinerating Fat

Fat burning occurs preferentially when your heart rate enters a certain “zone,” which happens to be at 65-75 percent of your max heart rate. The intensity of mountain biking keeps your heart rate elevated in that zone most of the time, ensuring you’ll get leaner every time you ride.

Know what else is amazing about its fat burning potential? The staggering caloric expenditure. A light 145lb individual burns a decent 500 calories per hour, when performed on moderately difficult terrain. This amount can quickly increase as the difficulty of the terrain is enhanced.

A two-hour ride can easily amount to more than 25% of daily caloric intake.

Build Up Cardio-Pulmonary Efficiency

One of the most important elements of good health and fitness is how efficiently your lungs can supply oxygen to your hard working heart, which in turn increases the speed at which oxygen is delivered to the muscles and other organs. Better oxygen flow decreases your fatigue rate, and improves your performance over time.

Mood Enhancement

There’s nothing that can improve your mood as fast or effectively as something you enjoy. For many, mountain biking is their drug of choice. The feeling of experiencing nature in all its true glory, and the endorphin rush associated with exercise will leave you feeling on top of the world.

In addition, who says mountain biking has to be a solitary exercise pastime? Many of the happiest and most resolute mountain bikers ride in a small group of friends, who keep each other accountable and motivated.

Having a safety net is never a bad thing either, in the event something goes wrong.


Mountain biking is an excellent pastime activity, whether you’re looking for a way to shed a few pounds, improve the health of your heart or need an escape from hectic city life.

Whatever your reason, once common sense is employed, safety procedures adhered to and you ride consistently, you will fall in love with it.

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