4 Ways Riding A Motorcycle Can Improve Your Overall Well-being
Reading time: 4 mins
Riding a motorbike has its perks. From navigating through traffic with ease to boosting your social circle via your local bike community, there’s a lot to be gained from owning a motorcycle. But did you know that riding a motorbike can also boost your mental health and overall well-being?
In 2018, a study called the ‘Motorcycle Study’ sponsored by Harley-Davidson® and conducted by UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior proved this. Observed over several weeks, the experiment measured brain activity, heart rate, and a panel of hormones in three conditions: riding a motorbike, driving a car and in rest mode as a comparison.
The study noted that motorbike riders had higher focus, attention, heart rate, and levels of adrenaline, and lower cortisol—a stress hormone—while riding a motorcycle compared to driving a car.
So, what does this mean? Basically, the study confirmed that riding a motorcycle benefits the body and also the mind. Some benefits are direct while others may be indirect outcomes of them. But did you know that riding a motorcycle can have some amazingly positive results for the rider?
Here are 4 ways riding a motorcycle can improve your overall well-being:
1. It Can Help Beat Stress
Do you love riding your motorbike? Why? Is it because you feel peaceful while on your bike or do you prefer adventure riding and crave the thrill with every twist of the throttle?
Either way, research shows that riding a motorcycle releases adrenaline, which in turn produces endorphins such as dopamine. Known as the ‘happy hormone,’ dopamine can make you feel good naturally. So, it’s no wonder that when you’re riding, the fresh air and sense of freedom can affect your mood and take away stress.
The Motorcycle Study also scientifically proves that a 20-minute motorcycle ride can increase the heart rate up to 11% while boosting adrenaline up to 27%. To put it into perspective, these readings are similar to what you would see after doing some light exercise. On top of that, riding a motorcycle also decreases the levels of the stress hormone— cortisol— up to 28%.
2. Provides a Positive Outlet to Gain Clarity
Apart from day to day tasks, we all look for ways in which we can unwind. For some riders, hitting the road on their two-wheeler is a great way to clear the mind.
When riding, your mind is fully engaged on the task, putting you in an active meditative state. This state of mindfulness you experience while riding is pivotal in aiding positive thinking and a clear mind. So, besides ironing out stress, riding can also help you gain clarity.
3. Increases Sensory Focus
Riding a motorcycle also increases alertness. In the same Motorcycle Study, it was deducted that motorcycle riding enhances the rider’s senses more than driving a car.
Another study conducted by Dr Ryuta Kawashima, a Japanese neuroscientist and self-confessed motorcycle enthusiast, looked at the relationship between motorcycle riding and the human mind. The 2009 study found that riders aged 40-50 had improved levels of cognitive function after riding their bikes to work daily for just two months.
This could be due to the fact that motorcycle riders know that they have to be extra careful on the road. As it’s no surprise that most accidents involving motorcycles are fatal for the bike rider.
Being a safe and responsible motorcycle rider does not just mean knowing all the road rules and ensuring you are covered by motorcycle insurance. You should also be alert and mindful of other drivers on the road.
4. Improves Core Strength
On average, a motorcyclist can burn up to 600 calories per hour depending on the terrain and body type. This is because your body works hard to maintain its balance, and keep you steady on your motorbike as you manoeuvre through various landscapes.
Because of this as well, riding a motorbike can also improve your core muscles over the long term.
To Ride or Not To Ride?
Riding a motorcycle is obviously different than driving a car. It requires your entire focus and you’ll have to keep alert to avoid accidents. But with no passenger beside you, it should be easier to concentrate on riding and the road ahead.
Science and research has also proven that riding a motorcycle can be a great form of therapy. It can help lift your spirits and gain clarity when needed.
So, owning a motorbike can actually be good for your well-being after all!