Does Riding A Motorcycle Burn Calories?

Man in a leather jacket driving custom made motorcycle during autumn, Does Riding A Motorcycle Burn Calories?If you’re looking to burn calories, you know plenty of activities you can do. You might lift weights at home or at the gym, jog for 30 minutes, or sweat it out on an elliptical. You ride your motorcycle often, but you don’t think of it the same way you do the above physical activities. Is it true that riding a motorcycle burns calories too?

Yes, you can burn calories riding your motorcycle. You can actually torch upwards of 600 calories per hour on your motorcycle. That’s more than a 30-minute jog, in which you may burn about 520 calories based on your running speed and your weight.

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about fitness as it pertains to your motorcycle. From how riding burns calories to whether you’ll develop stronger muscles on your motorcycle, you’re not going to want to miss this!

How Does Riding A Motorcycle Burn Calories?

We established in the introduction that you may burn as many as 600 calories per each hour of riding your motorcycle. That’s not guaranteed, as factors such as your weight and your metabolism can influence calories torched during any physical activity.


It’s easy to see how you’re burning calories as you sweat through a Zumba class or as you struggle to pedal on an exercise bike. However, unless it’s a warm day, you rarely break a sweat on your motorcycle. So how exactly do you burn calories?

You’re not just passively sitting on your motorcycle the way you would relax on your couch at home. As UK motorcycling resource Biker and Bike notes, you trigger a series of muscles each time you ride. These include your lower back, hips, legs, shoulders, arms, and torso.

If you’re an off-road motorcyclist especially, the potential to burn calories is even greater. You’ll move your body to accommodate for height changes in the terrain, and your legs will be busy as you readjust your motorcycle’s bias.

If you’re looking for a helmet for your motorcycling adventures, check out this article: 12 Gorgeous Women’s Motorcycle Half Helmets (Inc. With Visor)

Do You Have To Be Fit To Ride A Motorcycle?

Driver riding motorcycle on the empty asphalt road

You had no idea you could potentially burn so many calories riding a motorcycle. You have some basic riding experience, but now you’re thinking you’d like to take up the hobby again.

The only problem was the last time you rode was many years ago. You’re concerned you’re not in good enough shape to hop on a motorcycle. Is it true that you must be at a certain fitness level to ride?

Being relatively fit does help, yes. You see, when you sit on a motorcycle, you form what’s known as a rider triangle. Like any triangle, this has three points: your seat point, the handlebar point, and the footrest point.

When you sit the right way on your motorcycle, your feet should be positioned beneath your elbows. Your hands should be above so the triangle has a more upward angle.

Okay, so what does the rider triangle have to do with motorcycle fitness? Great question. The rider triangle impacts how you feel on a motorcycle, but it also determines how you fit. If you’re a bigger or taller rider and you sit on a smaller motorcycle, your rider triangle might be lopsided. If you can’t even sit on a motorcycle without having trouble, then maneuvering with the bike will prove next to impossible.

If you are taller, check out this article on finding the right motorcycle for you: 10 Best Motorcycles For Tall Riders

There’s no need to have a six-pack if you want to ride a motorcycle, but you should be of a weight where your rider triangle isn’t adversely affected.

Does Riding A Motorcycle Build Muscle?

If you’re trying to build muscle, you probably adhere to a strict diet, get plenty of protein, and hit the weights at the gym for hours at a time, right? Yet if you’re as passionate about riding your motorcycle as you are about working out, you may notice that you build muscle in other ways.

Yes, that’s right, by riding your motorcycle.

As we said before, riding is far from a passive activity. You work muscles throughout your body. You’ll know how hard you went the next day when you wake up sore. The longer you ride, the more of a workout your muscles are getting, especially your thighs and your upper half. Complex techniques like off-roading will also be more physically demanding, as explained above.

It can take time, but it’s totally possible to build muscle purely from riding your motorcycle. You won’t necessarily look shredded, but your muscles will be firm and strong.

Does Riding A Motorcycle Relieve Stress?

Motorcyclist with specialized protection equipment on the road

Stress is a regular part of our lives, unfortunately. Everyone has their preferred method of relieving stress. For some, it’s physical activity, while for others, it could be something more relaxing.

Like certain people prefer driving to clear their heads after a hard, stressful day, you ride your motorcycle. Is it possible you’re lessening your stress while you do this?

Indeed, you are! A 2019 article in Cycle World cited a UCLA study at the school’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. The participants in the study were all motorcycle lovers. Each rode for 22 miles.

Before the ride, during, and post-ride, the researchers tracked each participant’s cortisol, noradrenaline, adrenaline, heart rate, hormones, and brain activity with EEG tech. The riders had less cortisol during their ride as well as a higher heart rate and boosted adrenaline.

This makes sense that, since motorcycling is so exciting, it will increase your heart rate and adrenaline.

The cortisol findings are especially interesting. If you’re not familiar, cortisol is our primary stress hormone. By reducing cortisol levels, your stress tends to melt away.

Now, the study did receive funding from Harley-Davidson, so a slight bias might exist. Still, the data does prove that some motorcyclists can reduce stress through riding. Why not try yourself and see what happens?

Is Riding A Motorcycle Hard On Your Back?

You wake up the next day after a two-hour motorcycle ride expecting to feel some muscle pain. Instead, ouch! Your back is killing you. Could it be that riding is what did it, or is the pain from something else?

While the answer depends on what you did with your day, we can say with confidence that motorcycle riding may indeed contribute to your achy back. Some types of motorcycles are harder on your back than others.

Besides the bike type, your posture also plays a big role in your pain levels. If you lean heavily forward when riding, you’re doing your back no favors. The same goes for twisting your body to turn or maneuver.

Just like you should any other time, you want to maintain a sturdy, healthy posture on your motorcycle. Don’t lean or hunch; instead, remain as straight as you safely can. If you’re still having back pain even after improving your posture, shorten your ride lengths. That should solve your sore back problem.

In Closing

Riding a motorcycle is one of life’s truly freeing experiences. It turns out it also carries with it a myriad of benefits, such as burning a significant number of calories, soothing stress, building muscle, and keeping you fit. Isn’t it time to plan a nice ride on your motorcycle today?

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  1. Your comment about weight gain during covid 19 inspired this post. My electric tadpole trike which I ride 12 months a year here in North Carolina has kept me sane and relatively fit during the pandemic and , of course, cycling is a safe activity during these times. For anyone with balance issues, neurologic, orthopedic or other handicaps, I can’t recommend trikes too strongly. Very comfortable, stable as can be and fun! Disadvantages – expensive. not easy to transport, heavy (mine is 55 lbs with battery), takes up more room on the road (but cars seem to give this strange looking machine a wide berth) . One gets plenty of exercise. I maintain the electric assist just makes up for the added weight compared to an 18lb road bike. Try it!

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