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Keeping Fit For OHV Riding

We all need to maintain a certain level of fitness for off road riding. The level of fitness you need will depend partly on what kind of OHV you ride and the level of riding you want to do. Dirt bikes generally require the highest level of fitness. ATVs would be next, since they are kind of like a 4-wheeled dirt bike where you straddle the seat and steer with handle bars. UTV or side-by-sides require a little less fitness as they are more like your daily driver: you sit in a reasonably comfortable seat and are strapped in by seat belts. Larger off road vehicles like Jeeps, 4x4 trucks, and even dune buggies are even less forgiving since they are generally bigger and more powerful.

The age of the rider is, of course, a factor in fitness. As we get older we do tend to lose some of the strength and agility we had in our youth. Unless you are already a professional athlete, you, like most of us, probably won't be getting enough regular exercise to maintain the level of fitness you might need to safely and successfully ride your OHV.

Are you fit enough to begin an exercise program? If you are admittedly out of shape or have been inactive for any length of time it would be a good idea to check with your primary health care provider before embarking on a new exercise program. Trying to do too much too soon could have serious unwanted consequences.

I am now 78 years old and admit the years have taken their toll on my body. Fortunately, I am able to maintain a weekly exercise program designed for men 45-49 years old! It only takes 11 minutes a day and requires no special equipment or special clothing. Once you reach your desire level you need only do it 3 days a week to maintain at that level. It is called the 5BX program. I was introduced to it when I was in the Air Force Reserve. It was developed way back in the 1950s for the Canadian Air Force and then adopted by the U.S. Air Force. If you look it up online today you will find some criticism but I have found pretty much all the criticism is based on ignorance of the program. I have been using it for several years to keep myself in shape for my continuing service as a volunteer firefighter. I made one modification to meet my needs as a fire fighter. I added a few half-squats to strengthen my legs so make it easier to stand up wearing turn out gear and a heavy SCBA air pack. Anyone who rides a dirt bike or an ATV may also benefit from the extra squats. I stopped at the level for 45-49 year olds, the top of Chart #3. I have since discovered that if I had kept going, the squats were part of Chart #4.

The 5BX program takes only 11 minutes a day. It can be done anywhere, even in your RV, camper, or tent. It requires no special equipment or even special clothing. You can even do it in you PJs if you want to!

You print out a 5BX program from several online sources. Be sure to read all the introduction and follow the program exactly as written. If you are not accustomed to regular physical exercise or have any concerns be sure to talk to you doctor before starting the program. It is designed to start you out at a fairly easy beginners level and gradually take you up to the level of fitness you desire. Count on exercising 5-7 days a week until you reach your desired level of fitness. Then you should be able to maintain your level exercising 3 days a week.

The designated exercises include built-in stretches so you don't have to spend any extra time or energy outside the specified 11 minutes a day.

Like most exercise programs, doing it on a regular basis can eventually get kind of boring, but don't give up! Those few minutes a day will keep you stronger and more fit for ALL you physical activities. I found that once I reached and began maintaining my level I could perform all the physical duties I needed to do as a fire fighter without any undue stress. That includes things like carrying 100'of 2 1/2" fire hose up and down stairs in a 3-story structure as quickly as possible and assisting maneuvering a wheeled stokes (litter) with an adult patient on it for miles on a snowy forest trail.

I have heard it said that Supercross is without a doubt THE most physically demanding sport in the world. We may not come close to the kind of stunts and stress those professional riders endure, but we experience at least some of that exposure on every trail ride on a dirt bike and in general we can use all the help we can get out there! Starting out by being fit is a good place to start and it will continue to pay back dividends throughout your life.