It’s considered an extreme sport to most, but at the basic level (if you’re a beginner), riding a dirt bike can be an excellent way to stay healthy and fit. Sure, you might get a little dirty while riding through the terrain of a course or through the woods, but the workout you receive could surprise you.
Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:
- Increased heart rate: Dirt bike riding increases your heart rate in a way that is comparable to jogging or low-level endurance exercise. An average ride should bring your heart rate into the mid-130s, while a particularly strenuous ride, incorporating jumps, hills and other obstacles, can bring your heart rate into the mid-150s.
- Increased strength: While dirt bike riding places you on a motorized device, a significant amount of body strength is still required to turn, lift and operate your bike. You use your quadriceps, hamstrings and other leg muscles while riding over uneven terrain, and arm strength is required to lift your handle bars when going off jumps and pushing your bars back down on your landing.
- Balance: Using your leg muscles while riding will help keep you balanced as you accelerate up and down hills and over jumps. As your body braces against bumps, it will tighten its various muscles to keep in balance.
- Endurance: The amount of continuous time spent on your dirt bike will help improve your cardiovascular health by improving your endurance. If an average ride on a dirt bike is an hour or more, you will be engaging the muscles in your legs and arms as well as increasing your heart rate continuously throughout the ride. Simply operating the pedals and hand gears for an hour or more will provide sufficient exercise.
- Get outdoors: It allows people of all ages to get up and get off their couches and go outside. The sunshine and fresh air helps relieve stress and provides nutrients that help your body function at an optimal level.
- Burn calories: Keeping the motor bike in balance through all the different jumps and bumps itself uses up different parts of the core, arm and leg muscles. This will help to burn calories and give riders a slight burn in major muscle groups.
- Brain stimulation: The mere act of riding will activate the pre-frontal areas of the brain, and those who ride a motorcycle more often can improve cognitive functions. Researchers have noted a definite difference in the level of brain stimulation in those who ride a motorcycle regularly and those who have not been on their bike for some time.
- Provides varied versions of gym exercises: Balancing an off-road vehicle is like sitting on a stability ball. Controlling the handlebars – especially through the terrain – is like doing bench press and seated rows or upright rows. Standing up and down would be like squats or deep knee bends. Standing on the pegs is like doing toe raises.
- Staying healthy: To most people, motorbiking may look like it does not require as much physical effort, but once you get on the bike, you will see that it requires a lot of core muscle as well as arm and leg muscles to do the many different tricks and jumps.
- Good posture: Posture really does make a difference in riding ability, and once riders realize that, they want to maintain the best posture possible. This choice, while made simply to improve performance on the bike, can help become a healthy habit off of the bike, too.
If you like dirt biking, read our article on the the Health Benefits of BMX