Burn Calories and Tone with Off-Road Riding
Let me first start by saying, that motorcycle riding or off-road riding is not a great substitute for hitting the gym or pavement for some cardio. But, on those rest days, you should hit the road less traveled for a beneficial rest day.
Whether hitting the trail with your dirt bike, adventure bike, SXS, or ATV, off-road riding requires significant effort. I’ve already written about the benefits of riding as it pertains to cognitive function, so this article will focus on the physical aspect of off-road riding. When riding off-road, you’re oftentimes standing on pegs, absorbing the jarring shock compression with your legs and arms, and engaging your core.
During my research, I opened up the MyFitnessPal app. They didn’t have an adventure riding or dirt-bike riding exercise to choose from in their exercise database, but they did have Motocross. Though not apple to apples, the similarities are there. For a 220-pound person, riding for an hour, I would have burned approximately 399 calories. Not too shabby, when considering if I walked at a brisk 3.5 mph. pace for an hour I would have burned 20 fewer calories.
Calories burned are always great, but arguably the most important factor in our lives is our quality of life (QOL).
In 2010, Dr. James Burr wrote in the Health & Fitness Journal of Canada, that “off-road riders have high levels of mental and physical function QOL. Given their higher physical function, off-road motorcycle riders are less likely than all-terrain vehicle riders or the general population to have physical limitations or health problems”.
He concluded that off-road riders were between 0.5 and 7.9 percent less likely to have physical limitations when compared to the general population in walking one block. Off-road riders were also 3.7 to 9.1 percent less likely to call out of work.
Furthermore, the test participants reported higher vitality rates with 61% reporting higher energy levels compared to 34% of the general population. He also concluded that off-road riders were 22% less likely to have cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks, lung disease, and back pain.
All of these findings, lead him to suggest that habitual off-road riders have higher levels of vitality, general happiness, and quality of life when compared to the general population.
Honestly, I believe these findings are not all that shocking. We live in a connected, always-on world. Our phone pings and we are quick to pick it up to see our texts, or the latest social media breaking news. Getting off the pavement, allows us to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of today’s world, and simply enjoy life. It lowers our stress and provides a decent workout in the process.
The evidence is in the research. Skip the Netflix binge and hit the trails. You will feel better for it.