HomeBlogRiding a motorcycle has the same effect as exercise and meditation combined

Riding a motorcycle has the same effect as exercise and meditation combined

Research commissioned by Harley-Davidson takes a more in-depth look at individuals’ mental states and the effect of motorcycle riding.

UCLA recently released a study that confirms the internal mantra bikers have been singing for years; motorcycle riding helps decrease stress levels. You can expect the same level of benefit that exercise gives. For example, it leads to a decrease in cortisol levels.

A research team produced the neurobiological study at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. The team studied a group of bikers who undertook a pre-determined 22-mile ride under normal conditions.

Measuring brain activity revealed important information

The bikers had their brain activity recorded before, during and after the ride. In addition, they recorded brain activity during a car ride and during a resting period. The study measured several factors such as brain activity levels, heart rate, and hormones such as adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. These factors give a greater insight into how the rider is feeling. Perhaps many parents may even realise it’s the perfect excuse to buy their angry teenager a new motorcycle.

Sensory focus increases, and bikers develop resilience to distractions

The study discovered that during motorcycle rides, the bikers experience an intense rise in sensory focus and resistance to distractions. They also found that during the journey, the subjects experienced a significant rise in adrenaline, heart rate and a decrease in cortisol levels.

Cortisol and adrenaline levels

For those who don’t know, cortisol is nature’s built-in alarm system and is the primary stress hormone in the human body. It controls your mood, fears and motivation levels. At the same time, adrenaline is often associated with a fight-or-flight response. It’s commonly associated with pleasure for those who are adrenaline junkies and enjoy activities such as parachuting. You would expect similar results from individuals involved with exercise or rigorous activities, which are also stress reducers.

Happy Biker

Why is this study ground-breaking?

Until recently, the technology which would allow scientists to study the brain activity of bikers didn’t exist. When interviewed, Dr Don Vaughn stated that “The brain is an amazingly complex organ, and it’s fascinating to investigate the physical and mental effects riders report.” and that “Until recently, the technology to rigorously measure the impact of activities like motorcycling on the brain didn’t exist.”

The study emphasised four exciting points:

  1. Riding a motorcycle will decrease hormonal stress levels by 28%
  2. Riding a bike for at least 20 minutes will increase your heart rate by 11% and adrenaline levels by 27%, which is remarkably similar to light exercise.
  3. Subjects experienced lower stress levels riding motorcycles compared to car driving and resting. This is similar to those who regularly meditate.
  4. The rider’s increased alertness is similar to drinking a cup of coffee.

You can read the entire report, titled¬†“The Mental and Physical Effects of Riding a Motorcycle”, which will be presented later this year.

What do you, our readers think? Do you agree with the study? Have you noticed that your stress decreases as a result of motorcycling? If so, drop a comment below and let us know!

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Saffy Sprocket
Saffy Sprockethttps://www.SaffySprocket.com
Alongside her ever-growing coffee addiction, Saffron is well versed in the art of waffle and text jargon. She can often be found behind the screen of a computer grumbling about the youth of today.
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