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Finding Your Passion For Physical Activity

Ethan Pierson

By: Remi Oswald ‘19, communications

Finding a workout routine that works best for you can pose a challenge. To ensure you persist and have fun with your routine, you should find something you enjoy, something you are passionate about and something that excites you. Lucky for computer science student Ethan Pierson ‘22, he found his passion through mountain biking.

When Pierson was younger he found his adoration for bikes.

“I have always been into bikes. I started riding mountain bikes when I was seven. I rode occasionally with my family out on small local trails,” said Pierson.

So, what is mountain biking?

“Mountain biking involves riding a bike on challenging grounds, such as hills and tough terrains. It usually follows a trail in a forest that has various kinds of terrain,” said Pierson. “It involves shifting gears on the bike to make it easier or harder to pedal. It’s a really easy sport to get into and after practice, it’s easier to make it through tougher terrain.”

“While in Raleigh I generally ride at Lake Crabtree. The terrain there varies but I enjoy the more unkempt territory where there are lots of obstacles and generally steeper. There are long winding downhills with roots causing the bike to bump around so much that you must ride while standing. When I’m climbing up, there are inclines that are so steep that I must get off my bike and walk my bike. Every time I go back to the same section I try again and get closer, or make it over places I didn’t last time,” said Pierson.

Ethan Pierson mountain biking

Along with developing his own love for the sport, Pierson also proved that passion can be contagious. Because of watching his son’s growing interest, Pierson’s father also developed a passion for the sport. “Mountain biking was something that my dad and I both liked before, and so we attempted to get more involved with the sport. We practiced together, went to races together, and eventually got pretty good at mountain biking ourselves,” said Pierson.

So how has mountain biking influenced Pierson’s health and well-being outside of the sport itself? “Mountain biking has helped me have a positive attitude toward my school work and everyday life,” said Pierson.

“I think, exercising in general, gives me a better outlook on life. Exercising gives me a good “centered” feeling that goes through my body. When I exercise I make better decisions, I focus more on school work, and I am just happier in general. I enjoy biking so much because I get to exercise while being part of nature,” said Pierson.  

At Wellness and Recreation, we define physical well-being as the result of managing health through regular exercise, eating a balanced, nutritious diet and making sure you get enough adequate sleep. Pierson believes mountain biking has allowed him to reach a beneficial state of physical wellness through keeping him active, and by supporting his positive mental well-being.

Mountain biking allows me to explore new areas in nature, which you don’t get a lot from other more traditional sports.

Ethan Pierson ’22

Because Pierson developed his passion for this sport at such a young age, he is very appreciative for the related facilities offered at NC State.

“I am in the triathlon club at NC State, which has road biking involved. It’s a relatively small community at NC State that mountain bikes, so we use a group chat to arrange times to ride altogether,” said Pierson.

Having the ability to reach out to fellow NC State students with similar interests in the sport, allowed Pierson’s freshman year experience a much smoother transition.

“When I came to NC State I knew I wanted to join clubs and get involved and could transition easily. As I met more mountain bikers around campus, making the group chat really made it feel like there was a mountain bike club. It’s awesome to easily schedule times to ride and carpool directly through the chat. It all made it a lot easier to adjust,” said Pierson.

Interested in finding your passion for physical activity? Why not try mountain biking? “It is a super easy sport to get into. Anyone who can ride a bike can get started,” said Pierson. Be like Pierson and find something that excites and encourages you to become healthy and well.
There are multiple facilities offered by the university to encourage and assist student’s passions for mountain biking. The NC State cycling club gives interested students the opportunity to competitively bike with other students. Also, Outdoor Adventures offer mountain bikes as a part of the rental center.