The Health Benefits of Trail Riding

The Health Benefits of Trail Riding

A weekly 3.5 hour trail ride meets the UK government recommendation for exercise

Posted on 17.12.2019

Riding a motorbike is not exercise. The gym is exercise. Running is exercise. Swimming is exercise. Isn’t it?

Any trail rider will tell you how much they sweat on a tough day out on the trails. New riders often call it a day early as the experience can be so physically draining. But if you’ve never been on a bike, how would you know?

Devon Trail Riders Fellowship (UK) member Dr Sean Combs has been on a mission to apply a little science to the art of trail riding and has published a ground breaking report, The Health Benefits of Trail Riding

The (UK) Government recommends targets for exercise in order to remain healthy. It is advised to take either 150 minutes of moderate exercise, 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or a combination of both per week.

Exercise can also be measured in metabolic equivalents (MET)s a scale between 1 (sat in a chair) and typically 12 (high intensity exercise) based on energy used over time. Most rides fall into the “Vigorous” category, with a mean of MET of 6.4 equivalent to downhill skiing or hill walking.

Examining the data in more detail show trail riding to provide both moderate and vigorous exercise. Regarding moderate exercise, data provided in this survey shows that on average a rider will achieve this after a trail ride of 218 minutes (~3.5 hours). The data show that the average ride is 230 minutes in length and that 70% of all rides provide the government recommended moderate exercise in a single outing.

3.5 hours: the amount of time spent trail riding to reach the (UK) Government guidelines for weekly moderate exercise


Trail Riding promotes physical activity in those who might otherwise forego exercise altogether. All physical activity is beneficial.

The Health Benefits of Trail Riding
Dr Sean Comber
Trail Riders Fellowship (UK)

See also: Trail Bike Riding (Research), Trail Bike Riding




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