We are bound to put on a bit of Christmas “pudding” over the coming holiday season, but did you know you can actually lose weight while riding your motorbike?
It seems strange because most riding is a sedentary and social recreation. However, an 80kg rider will burn 40 more calories an hour riding a motorbike than driving a car.
There doesn’t seem like much exercise involved in sitting on a bike and we usually do it with our friends, which turns into a long lunch while “bench racing”. It’s not good for the waistline and your health.
However, since losing weight is simply a matter of using more energy than we consume, there are a few simple steps to follow to ensure you at least don’t put on weight while pursuing your favourite recreation.
Research has shown that sitting on a bike requires no more physical exercise than gently pedalling a bicycle. Yet, Sports Illustrated listed motocross as the fourth most physically demanding sports behind hockey, soccer and wrestling.
Clearly, there are different levels of activity required for different types of riding.
If you’re into motocross, then that’s fine, go and do lots of it. Imagine how many calories Aussie Toby Price burnt during his victorious 2016 Dakar Rally!
On the other hand, cruiser riders on a long straight stretch don’t get much exercise at all. (They’re called a Fat Boy for a reason!)
However, there are lots of riding types that require a bit of exercise. Try trail or adventure riding, especially hills and river crossings.
You can also try track riding which can be physically demanding if you are doing it right. Just look at the super-fit MotoGP riders.
For most of us, the best option is lots of corners.
Did you know you will also burn 100 calories an hour if you sing along to the music playing in your helmet Bluetooth unit!
Ride solo. Pillions tend to want to stop all the time and that usually ends up in morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.
Riding in groups also means you stop more frequently and it takes a lot of willpower to sit there and eat a salad-on-rye sandwich while your mates are chowing down on works burgers.
If you must ride with mates, go to more isolated areas where there aren’t as many cafe temptations.
And make sure you ride for long stints. As noted earlier, you burn 40 more calories an hour than driving a car.
Put a hydration pack on your back and keep sipping water. It’s not only good for preventing dehydration in the summer heat, but it also keeps you feeling full, so you won’t want to stop and eat.
Avoid sports drinks which are full of sugar. Also avoid coffee which has a diuretic effect just like alcohol that makes you want to urinate and stop more frequently. It’s best to keep moving and burning those calories.
Motorcycles are very convenient because you can park them just about anywhere – usually right in front of the cafe where you’ve stopped.
But if you want to lose some weight, park a fair way away instead and walk.
In fact, walking is a great way to lose weight. I’m not suggesting you walk instead of ride, but maybe ride to a destination where you can go for a walk. National parks are usually situated on winding roads!
Put a pair of sand shoes in your panniers or backpack and ride to a national park and go for a walk, rather than riding to a pub.
Did you know you can actually exercise while on the bike?
That doesn’t mean doing sit ups or push ups while riding.
I have a friend who does isometric exercises while riding. It simply consists of tensing his stomach muscles for a few seconds.
It also helps you concentrate and stay awake on long, boring sections of highway.
You can also try squeezing the tank with your thighs. In fact, if you grip the tank rather than hanging on to the bars it makes you tighten your abdominal and core muscles. That not only burns calories, but makes you a better rider with more control.