We constantly read and hear about the potential dangers related to motorcycles, but we hardly ever get to learn about the physical and mental benefits of riding a motorcycle.
These are the reasons bikers feel so good after taking a nice, long ride:
It Makes You Happier
Every biker will tell you about the feeling of pure joy after a long ride. With each twist of the throttle, adrenaline is released, along with endorphins. These “happiness” hormones will improve your mood, increase your sense of pleasure, and minimize any pain, physical or emotional.
The hormones are to be “blamed” for feeling joyful while and after riding a motorcycle, but in addition to the sense of joy, bikers also feel relief after a ride. It’s a feeling similar to some heavy weight being lifted off your shoulders.
What happens is that when you ride a motorcycle, you are fully engaged in the present moment. While on a motorcycle, you are constantly analyzing and adjusting speed, your body position, the road position, etc. It ties you tightly to the present moment and doesn’t leave room for thinking about your horrible boss, or money, or any other daily problem you might be facing.
When you get off a bike after a long ride, your mind is like a blank slate, which is one of the most cherished benefits of riding a motorcycle.
It Makes You Smarter
Science has discovered that riding motorcycles improves your cognitive function. In 2009, a Japanese scientist Ryuta Kawashima studied the effects of motorcycle riding on middle-aged men.
The study found that riding a motorcycle can lead to smart aging.
22 men in their 40s and 50s participated in the study. All of them had riding licenses but hadn’t ridden a motorcycle for at least ten years. During the study, the scientist ordered half of the 22 to ride a motorcycle every day for two months. At the same time he forbid the other half to ride at all . His team handed a series of various tests to all the 22 men before and after that period.
“The group that rode motorbikes posted higher marks in cognitive function tests,” the scientist said.
The motorcyclists who rode every day improved their scores by more than 50% compared to their test results from before the riding period. The non-riding group showed no improvement. In fact, their results decreased marginally.
Riding a motorcycle requires rapid problem solving and constant high alertness. Kawashima says the rider’s brain simply gets activated when he rides, addressing the mental benefits of riding a motorcycle.
“Mental care is a very big issue in modern society. I think we made an interesting stir here as data showed you can improve your mental condition simply by using motorbikes to commute,” Kawashima concluded.
Core and Neck Strength
After you go on your first long motorcycle ride, you will most certainly feel the same pains all of us do: the neck muscles are at the top of that list. Wearing a helmet for a few hours alone would make your neck muscles work hard, and if you throw constant windblast into the equation, you’ve got yourself a full-blown neck workout. This especially applies to bikers who ride without a windshield.
Your motorcycle has to fit your perfectly so you don’t constantly crank or strain your neck, as this can have a significant negative impact on the long run. You have to check the handlebars, seating position and foot pegs and make sure they are right for your measurements.
Once you got it all right, riding a motorcycle will still require a lot of muscles to work together, but you won’t be injuring yourself. You will be making your core strong.
Your core ties everything together, and each maneuver you make while riding a motorcycle will involve using your core. This especially goes for low-speed maneuvers. You are constantly making low-impact movements that you might not even be noticing. What you will notice is your core getting stronger after you have been riding for a while.
It makes you happy; it makes you smart, it strengthens your core. The benefits of riding a motorcycle are both soul and body-related. They don’t call it “Wind therapy” for nothing!
Photo by Dylan M Howell