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Physiological Demands of Off-Road Vehicle Riding


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: July 2010 - Volume 42 - Issue 7 - p 1345-1354
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181cd5cd3
Applied Sciences

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.

1Physical Activity and Chronic Disease Unit, Faculty of Health, York University, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA; and 2School of Kinesiology and Health Science, Faculty of Health, York University, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Address for correspondence: Norman Gledhill, Ph.D., York University, 4700 Keele St, Room 356 Bethune College, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3J1P3; E-mail:

Submitted for publication September 2009.

Accepted for publication November 2009.

©2010The American College of Sports Medicine