Can an adventure sport like BMX also be training?


The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were instrumental in the spread of new niche sports. The inclusion of several new events meant more eyeballs and more discussion around them. One of them was the freestyle BMX event, in which nine riders from eight countries competed. A subculture of urban cycling that emerged in the United States in the 1970s, became an Olympic sport this year.

BMX is the popular abbreviation for Bicycle Motocross, a sport where riders perform stunts and tricks on special BMX bikes. The bikes used are generally smaller than the regular cycles we use; this is because cyclists hardly ever sit on bikes while riding them. Being a BMX cyclist is about being nimble and fast, which obviously means riders need to be careful and in good physical condition.

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“I started BMX almost 10 years ago because it seemed like something adventurous. A little risky, a little fun. It was an action sport that was different from regular cricket-football, ”says Prateek Bhasin, 28, from Chandigarh. A self-taught rider, Prateek used YouTube to learn skills and now sells bikes, bike parts and accessories.

Chandigarh has a tiny but growing community of BMX riders, currently numbering just under 20. It is still far from a thriving community, but riders are trying to spread awareness of the sport through events and meetups. BMX meetings are also common in Mumbai, with 4 teams in the city. But events are still limited across the country, says Sanjay Rajpurohit.

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“BMX has been around longer than skateboarding. But it hasn’t increased that much. It may be the cost factor. Skateboards are cheaper than a BMX bike, which comes from over ??35,000 BMX riders however use the same ramps. So if there is a skatepark in the city, it also contributes to the growth of the BMX community, ”points out Sanjay, who, in association with 100 Skatepark Construction Company, built a first skatepark in Nerul, Navi Mumbai, in 2019.

Most BMX riders in India are not professional BMX athletes, but everyday professionals who indulge their passion at the same time. Despite this, they train diligently throughout the year. Is it just the adrenaline rush? Or can BMX even be a good workout?

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If it’s calorie burning you are looking for then yes BMX can provide pretty good calorie burning. For example, a BMX rider, weighing about 70 kg, can burn 300 calories per hour. Along with the adrenaline rush that BMX can give to cyclists, it can also help your heart health. Blood circulation also improves, just like if you are a regular cyclist.

BMX bikes are not the most comfortable bikes to ride. Therefore, to maintain your balance, you should at least maintain correct posture. It is not only crucial for the health of your spine, but can also prevent lower back problems. Since many exits involve tricks, you also need to be flexible and mobile enough to perform the maneuvers well. BMX can be a great workout as well as an adventure sport. But like any other activity, be sure to warm up, wear proper safety gear, and start slow.

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