Off-Road Vehicles are Good for Your Health
“Be careful!” is the call from every spouse or parent as they watch someone drive away on an off-road vehicle (ORV). All vehicles are dangerous but many people are particularly worried about the dangers of ORVs since they’re driven off the “safety” of the road. But anyone who’s ridden an ORV can probably tell you that it’s physically exerting and exciting, which is layman’s terms for healthy exercise and the release of brain chemicals that are good for your mental health.
Something that few people know, is that riding an ATV can be good for your health—and there are studies to support that. In 2010, researchers in Canada collected a sample of ATV and off-road motorcycle (ORM) riders, ran tests, and compared the results with the general population. The results were lower blood lipid levels and lower rates of metabolic syndrome for all riders. Off-road motorcycle riders had above average aerobic fitness (though ATV riders had lower than average).
A year later, another study was conducted. This was more thorough, taking four experimental groups (riding ORM two days a week, ATV two days a week, ORM four days a week, or ATV four days a week) who had ORV training and a control group (group that did not have ORV training). After six weeks, all the ORV training participants had improved blood pressure, weight loss, and muscular improvements. ORM riders also had improved quality of life.
So does this mean ORVs are safe? Health and safety are two different issues. Any motorized vehicle is dangerous to an extent, but statistics show that people are less likely to take precautions when on ORVs, and thus more likely to be seriously injured. Not wearing helmets or other protective gear, driving on roads (2/3rds of all fatal ATV accidents happen on roads, these are off-road vehicles, and should be driven off-road), riding an ATV that isn’t the right size for your age, and riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs are common factors in ORV injuries.
Safety is just as important as health, so when you go out for a ride, put on your protective gear, never go alone, and read up on the many ways you can stay safe while you have fun. Make safe choices and make healthy choices. And keep in mind there are more health benefits, both physical and mental, to exercising outside in the sunlight than cramped up inside a gym.
Get out of the man cave and rent an ORV from RV Camper Share today to change up your exercise routine and make it more exciting!
1. Burr J.F., Jamnik, V., & Gledhill, N., (2010) A cross-sectional examination of the physical fitness and selected health attributes of recreational all-terrain vehicle riders and off-road motorcyclists, Journal of Sports Sciences, 28:13, 1423-1433, DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2010.510847
2. Burr, J.F., Jamnik, V.K. & Gledhill, N. (2011) Physiological fitness and health adaptations from purposeful training using off-road vehicles. Eur J Appl Physiol 111, 1841–1850). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-010-1817-8