Introduction: The purpose of this study was to characterize the physiological demands of recreational off-road vehicle riding under typical riding conditions using habitual recreational off-road vehicle riders (n = 128).
Methods: Comparisons of the physical demands of off-road vehicle riding were made between vehicle types (all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and off-road motorcycle (ORM)) to the demands of common recreational activities. Habitual riders (ATV = 56, ORM = 72) performed strength assessments before and after a representative trail ride (48 ± 24.2 min), and ambulatory oxygen consumption was measured during one lap (24.2 ± 11.8 min) of the ride.
Results: The mean V˙O2 requirement (mL·kg−1·min−1) while riding an off-road vehicle was 12.1 ± 4.9 for ATV and 21.3 ± 7.1 for ORM (P = 0.002), which is comparable to the V˙O2 required of many common recreational activities. Temporal analysis of activity intensity revealed approximately 14% of an ATV ride and 38% of an ORM ride are within the intensity range (>40% V˙O2 reserve) required to achieve changes in aerobic fitness. Riding on a representative course also led to muscular fatigue, particularly in the upper body.
Conclusions: On the basis of the measured metabolic demands, evidence of muscular strength requirements, and the associated caloric expenditures with off-road vehicle riding, this alternative form of activity conforms to the recommended physical activity guidelines and can be effective for achieving beneficial changes in health and fitness.