Physiological demands of off-road vehicle riding

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jul;42(7):1345-54. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181cd5cd3.


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 VO2 requirement (mL x kg(-1) x 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 VO2 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 (940% VO2 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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Fatigue
  • Off-Road Motor Vehicles*
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Recreation / physiology*
  • Young Adult