Australia’s ING recently commissioned a study about the therapeutic potential of motorcycle riding. And although it may startle the general public, it merely verifies what most motorcyclists have known all along.
The study found that on average, motorcyclists are far happier than the average motorist. When the results were tallied, 82 percent of motorcyclists said that riding makes them happy. Motorists, on the other hand, weren’t nearly as happy with only around 55 percent saying that driving makes them feel the same way.
UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience also conducted a study that seems to back up the Australian study’s findings. Researchers recorded brain activity and hormone levels before, during, and after riding a motorcycle, driving a car, and resting. Ultimately, motorcyclists had a 28 percent decrease in biomarkers of stress.
Based on these findings, the Economic Times Of India (ETOI) says motorcycle riding can help your mental and physical health. They go on to cite four benefits of riding a motorcycle summarized as follows:
Most people dislike being stuck in traffic. Since you are riding a motorcycle, the ETOI says logically that you won’t be as hemmed in as people driving four-wheel vehicles. This, they say, can reduce stress and can ease anxiety levels.
Improves brain health
ETOI says that motorcycling requires concentration. They claim that it’s this sensory focus that means riders are more alert to their environment. This focus, in turn, increases brain activity. ETOI equates the increased awareness to drinking a cup of coffee.
Motorcyclists burn more calories than motorists. ETOI says motorcyclists can burn up to 600 calories per hour, depending on the riding terrain and the rider’s body type. They say that a rider’s body is working “hard” to maintain balance and counteract wind forces all while remaining flexible enough to maneuver the motorcycle.
Part of a community
Finally, ETOI tips its cap to riders for having the best of both worlds. Riders can ride solo, and they can be part of a biking community. ETOI says it’s this dual capability to be solo and be part of a community that can increase happiness and improve a rider’s mental health.
Although I agree with the findings of the two “legitimate” studies, I’m not so fast to glom on to all the benefits cited by ETOI. But there’s one thing I do know. It’s that motorcycling makes me a happier and more relaxed person. And that can only be good.