Like you need any more reasons to ride.

There’s nothing that’s better than mountain biking for giving your whole body – and mind – a complete workout.

Why is mountain biking the best? Let us count the ways…

1. Heart

Mountain biking is an excellent form of cardio work-out. Although it may not feel like it as you’re dying a death on the way up some godforsaken climb, biking gives your blood an increase in oxygen. Biking improves your blood vessels by dilating them and keeping them clear.

>>> Why is fitness such a taboo subject in mountain biking?

2. Blood pressure

Biking wards off hypertension (another term for high blood pressure).

3. Lungs

Your lungs’ performance can improve by a whopping 25% compared to your average couch potato.

4. Muscles

There are few activities that give your body as thorough going-over as mountain biking. Specifically your muscles. Pretty much all of them.

5. Stamina

Any mountain biker knows that it’s impossible to avoid long grinds or extended bouts of endurance on a mountain bike ride.

6. Joints

No, not those kind. Unlike other activities that boast similar (or better) calorie-burning qualities – running, for example – mountain biking doesn’t beat up your joints (or muscles) as bad. Well, not if you’re doing it right anyway.

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7. Waistline

It’s hard to quantify because different riders ride at different amplitudes but, as an average, mountain biking is supposed to burn anywhere up to 1,000 calories per hour of doing it. It also ups your metabolic rate. Which is why some riders can eat shedloads and still be skinny rakes.

8. Mood

We all know this one. You feel better during – and especially after – a mountain bike ride. There’s a scientific reason for this; biking produces the stress hormone norepinephrine which is proved to improve a person’s mood.

9. Attitude

Kinda related to the above point but this is more to do with engendering a can-do attitude. Cleaning a tricky climb or negotiating a sketchy descent or simply completing a longer than usual ride will all help you approach your non-bike life in a better way.

10. Brain

Cycling in general apparently builds new brain cells in your hippocampus. Which will hopefully make up for all the cells we lose when we crash our brains out.

11. Reflexes

Again, related to the point above about brain cells, one of the most demanding and this rewarding aspects of mountain biking is dealing with things quickly as they come at you. Choosing lines, assessing traction, predicting outcomes, gambles and so on. All this split-second decision making does wonders for your reflexes and reaction times.

Good point, well made…

How could we miss this aspect? Kudos to AustinCyclist for pointing this out. Mountain biking is a great form of exercise because it doesn’t actually feel like it’s exercise! It doesn’t feel like a chore. It’s something we all look forward to doing.

The physical benefits are pretty much secondary to the reason we ride: fun!