Is riding motorcycle good for brain?
3 Ways Riding a Motorcycle Can Actually Improve Your Well-being
If you already own a motorcycle or are thinking about buying one, did you know it could improve your health? Here are 3 ways riding a motorcycle can actually improve your well-being.
Owning a motorcycle can have lots of perks. From being able to get to work in style, exploring the countryside on the weekend, or even the satisfaction of restoring a motorcycle from scratch as a hobby, there are lots of positive benefits from owning a motorcycle.
But one surprising perk is the boost to your health which motorcycle ownership can provide. From getting you into the great outdoors to boosting your social circle, there’s a lot to be gained from owning a motorcycle, especially through the local communities that tend to develop.
Having a sense of community and friendship is important in our lives, as sadly, suicide is the biggest killer of men aged under 45, with 75% of all suicides being male according to The Calm Zone.
Whilst motorcycles can be ridden by males or females, any boost to men’s mental health is a huge welcome to help fight such devastating statistics. Therefore, owning a motorcycle can have some unexpected boosts to your overall health, as well as being a great pastime.
In no particular order, here are 3 ways riding a motorcycle can actually improve your wellbeing:
It can help beat stress
If you are feeling stressed, there’s nothing quite like getting out on the open road on your motorcycle to release tension, and make you forget your worries. Just make sure you have a good motorbike insurance policy in place to prevent you worrying about the financial implications should an accident occur, because they do.
What’s more, many motorcycle riders will venture into the countryside and pitch up at various beauty spots for lunch, or even to meet with other riders. It not only gets you out into areas you wouldn’t normally venture but is great for boosting your social circle, too.
Researchers at UCLA conducted a study on the relationship motorcycles have on the brain, and agreed that they can be a very positive outcome on mental health. They found that after just 20 minutes of riding a motorcycle, hormonal bio markers of stress were reduced by 28%. There was also a reduction of cortisol levels, which is important as a sustained level of cortisol (our fight or flight response) can lead to anxiety, headaches, heart attacks, memory problems, insomnia and many other symptoms, according to WebMD.
Helps you to make new friends
The biking community is notoriously tight-knit, and bikers themselves liken it to a brotherhood. There are various biker events which happen throughout the year, including meetups and planned cycles to different locations. It can be a great way to meet new people who share the same interests, making lots of new friends along the way.
Having friends is important to our wellbeing, as it helps fend off depression and anxiety, as well as other health conditions. We need plenty of social interaction to feel at our best, and the beauty about owning a motorcycle is it gets you out into the fresh air. In fact, many bikers describe other bikers not as friends but as family, because the bond they make is so close.
Therefore, owning a motorcycle can create lots of new connections that you would never have made otherwise. This is important for retired men in particular, who may no longer see the usual circle of friends in their daily job anymore. However, it can be beneficial to men of all ages, too. The more friends we make in life, the happier we become – especially if we are doing something we enjoy at the same time.
Provides you with a positive outlet to focus on
Life can get stressful and hectic for all sorts of reasons. There are many ways in which we can unwind from this stress, but how many of these outlets – such as heavy drinking – are actually causing us more problems instead?
In response to an article by RevZilla entitled “Is riding a motorcycle a form of therapy?”, one commenter said: “For many years in a stressful high pressure job, my 45 minute ride home every day on country back roads was my primary way to unwind.” They added: “I think part of it also is the preparation that is required in these activities that assists in separating us from the days concerns.
“Even the simple preparation for a ride, jacket, gloves, helmet, check the weather etc. causes us to shift gears mentally.”
Riding a motorcycle is different than driving a car. It requires your entire focus, and there’s no passenger sat next to you to chat to, so you must concentrate not on your problems but on the bike and the road ahead. This in itself can be a great form of therapy, especially if you are going through a tough time.
Therefore, owning a motorcycle can really help lift your spirits, as well as taking the focus away from what is weighing you down in your regular life.
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Is riding motorcycle good for brain?
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Motorcycling improves mental health: the proof, with citations.
Firstly, thanks to Nightowl on Netrider (an Australian motorcycling forum) for collating all of this. I’m basically duplicating what she wrote, here, with some formatting to make it nicer for a reddit post.
- riding a motorcycle activates prefrontal areas of the brain;
- differences in brain use and level of brain stimulation can be observed in motorcyclists who ride regularly and in motorcyclists who have not ridden for extended periods;
- Incorporating motorcycle riding into daily life improves various cognitive functions and has positive effects on mental and emotional health such as stress reduction.
“We found, as predicted, that the bilateral PFC was activated during motorcycle riding, and that incorporating motorcycle riding into daily life has beneficial effects not only for improving various cognitive functions, but also for reducing mental stress.” — Tohoku University
In a separate study — results released earlier this year — it has been found that dirt bike riding improves quality of life.
«Off-road riders have high levels of mental and physical functioning quality of life(QOL). Given their higher physical function, off‐road motorcycle riders are less likely than all terrain vehicle riders or the general population to have physical limitations or health problems.» — Health & Fitness Journal of Canada 2010;3(1):4—11.
The news gets better; the second publication in this series of four reports has confirmed that 96.6% of ORV riders consider themselves to be both positive, optimistic thinkers, are “expected to have lower levels of stress and depression…and a higher overall life satisfaction”. (source)
This study is by Burr, Jamie Francis Burr, Ph.D., YORK UNIVERSITY , 2010
By comparison there is objective evidence that commuting by car and train increases stress.
Commuting by car or train elevates blood pressure, adrenaline, cortisol (neuroendocrine processes that are key players in the fight/flight response) – known stress markers directly implicated in development of cardiovascular disease and suppressed immune function.
Cortisol is a well-known mechanism linking environmental exposure to stressors to physical morbidity.
“Commuting as a stressor has policy importance as several of the stress indicators sensitive to commuting are early warning signs of other more serious problems.» — The Impact of Mode & Mode Transfer Stress study conducted jointly by Cornell University, Polytechnic University & New Jersey Department of Transportation, released in 2004.
This study was the first time the adverse impact of commuting conditions on work settings was documented.
- Commuting by car & train elevates stress
- carpool passengers experience greater stress than carpool drivers;
- Carpooling was more stressful than solo driving;
- Higher traffic congestion directly relates to less control, less control has a relationship to greater stress.
- Different levels of stress between men & women.
I know this is preaching to the choir here, but I thought it was interesting, and deserved sharing with the rideit community.