Long gone are the days when BMX biking was exclusively reserved for grungy teenagers hanging around your local half pipe. Although it may be classed as an ‘extreme sport’ and some of the top-level stunts look utterly death-defying, BMX is actually incredibly accessible, and the benefits are incredibly varied.
What Is BMX?
BMX, or Bicycle Motocross, is a cycling sport where competitors race, time trial or perform freestyle stunts in competition or recreationally. Originating in the 1960s in southern California, BMX was made an official Olympic sport in 2008, and now has a number of different variations, including Freestyle and Dirt Jump. BMX bikes are designed to be much smaller than road bikes road bike, with a strong fixed size frame. The BMX bike has only one fixed gear, making it simple to race although not ideal for getting from A to B.
BMX racing take place on a growing number of purpose-built outdoor and indoor tracks in England. The Olympic standard track at Manchester’s National BMX Centre is unique in the UK, an indoor track with an eight-metre high start ramp. And with 250,000 more women cycling regularly, it’s clear that BMX is a viable and original option to help you keep fit.
Core strength. Even the simplest jumps require a huge amount of control over your body to ensure that you don’t wipe out. To jump, control your bike in the air and land at a specific point, you’ll need a rock-steady core. The design of the BMX bike means that you will be standing up on the bike while you perform all of your tricks – standing cycling engages more core muscles than sitting down because you have to react to the slightest movements and constantly realign your balance.
Cardiovascular health. Riding regularly will be sure to get your heart pumping and increase your endurance. Hills, jumps, twists and turns will get your blood pumping in short, powerful bursts – this will condition your cardiovascular system, which will allow your body to use oxygen more efficiently.
Burns fat. BMX is an extreme sport for a reason – you will be working hard for a sustained period of time. Whether you’re sprinting around a course or pulling some new stunts, you’ll feel your lungs burning and the sweat dripping down your face. Sixty minutes of cycling can burn up to 600 calories – ideal if you’re trying to trim down or maintain an athletic figure.
Nothing builds confidence like trying things that scare you. Push yourself firmly out of your comfort zone as you try jumps and tricks for the first time, or whiz round a course for the ultimate adrenaline boost. Seeing yourself improve in a brand new skill is fantastic for your self-esteem, so don’t be surprised if you start out-performing in other walks of life as well.
The British BMX Championships are taking place on Saturday 29 August at Manchester BMX Track. Bringing together the best riders in the country, the event is sure to be thrilling for spectators and a fantastic introduction to the sport if you’re thinking of taking it up.
For more information, visit: https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/130209/British-BMX-Championships-2015