The Health Benefits of Trail Riding

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

by Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF)



The 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 of218 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.

In technical lanes, riders will also under take vigorous exercise, for an average ride of 230minutes, a trail rider spends approximately one quarter of their time (56 minutes or 23% of the ride) with their average heart rate working in the vigorous range.

In combination, the moderate and vigorous exercise per average ride add sup to considerably greater than the commendations, averaging almost TWICE the recommendation (180%). In total 80% of 19 rides evaluated delivered the weekly recommended exercise.

By providing vigorous and in some cases high levels of exercise trail riding provides additional heart exercise and muscle strengthening benefits.