Is Riding a Motorcycle Good for Your Health?
For many people, riding a motorcycle is synonymous to flirting with death. But for the experienced rider, a good long ride is synonymous with enhanced physical, mental, and emotional health. Recently, a study was performed to measure some of the health benefits of riding. Is riding a motorcycle good for your health? Unsurprisingly, the answer is yes!
How is Riding a Motorcycle Good for Your Health?
It seems as if health improvements are usually achieved doing relatively safe activities. Doing yoga, eating vegetables, and going for a jog are not considered dangerous in any way. Furthermore, when you think about riding a motorcycle, it may seem like it would be similar to driving a car. At least, the health benefits would be no different. But that’s not true.
Science Proves Riding a Motorcycle is Good for Your Health
There has long been anecdotal evidence that riding a motorcycle is good for your health. The motorcycle manufacturing company Harley Davidson wanted proof. So, they funded a research project in 2018 overseen by Dr. Don Vaughn to investigate anecdotal proofs. They wanted numbers, and they got them.
Dr. Vaughn and his colleagues measured brain activity with an innovative EEG by ANT Neuro. They also measured heart rate and hormone levels of subjects when they were at rest, riding, or driving a car. There were over 50 riders in the study, and the study was performed in multiple places. Studies such as this require many people and multiple locations to account for some of the variables that occur in natural life due to circumstances and individuality.
Results of Motorcycle Research Performed for Harley
Overall, researchers found that riding reduced stress biomarkers by 28%. It reduced cortisol, one of the body’s stress hormones. A 20 minute ride increased heart rate and adrenaline levels, which made it similar to moderate cardio exercise. Riders were also more alert, something described as similar to drinking a cup of coffee. Increased concentration also meant less distractibility. Overall, the results supported health benefits to motorcycle riding.
Anecdotal Evidence Enhances Argument that Riding is Good for You
There isn’t a lot of scientific research that is geared toward proving that riding a motorcycle is good for your health. Instead, most of the evidence comes from riders themselves. This can be coupled with the research study above to give credence to the claim of riding health benefits.
Ask anyone who rides, especially new riders, and they’ll tell you it’s a workout. New riders experience sore muscles related to gripping, balancing, and leaning. Think about it. A rider’s body positioning and movement is nearly as important as the steering wheel.
A rider will get a near total-body workout when riding on the freeway or on curvy country roads. A windy day adds an extra challenge. The benefits of this muscle use are similar to exercise.
Yes, riding a motorcycle burns calories. This can have excellent benefits including weight loss and the reduction of oxidative stress on the body.
Physical health isn’t just about getting into better shape. Motorcycles also have positive physical benefits in the heart. Stress reduction reduces blood pressure and increases the heart rate. It is a heart-healthy activity.
Riding a motorcycle is good for your health because you are outside as well. Depending on your gear, you may not get all the vitamin D benefits from the sun. However, many motorcycle rides include outdoor activities, so you may end up boosting this vitamin intake.
There are many physical health benefits to riding a motorcycle, and although they may not motivate a ride, they are good backup reasons to get out there.
Mental health issues are rising in the U.S., and the pandemic has not helped. People feel cooped up or shut in, and riding a motorcycle decreases this feeling. It is a feeling of freedom that you are out on the road.
Much of what people encounter when they suffer lessened mental health is a feeling that they are stagnate, or not doing anything with their lives. The thrill of a motorcycle ride completely turns that feeling around.
For riders who have been on bikes for years, going on a ride offers a different type of solace. It is less a thrill and more of a peaceful action in mindfulness. You don’t ride a motorcycle for anyone else, and this focus on yourself is healthy.
Owning a bike, working on one, and going out for motorcycle rides is a different lifestyle. It connects you with a different group of people. It also gives you a unique identity and focus. This is why it is beneficial for those with mental illness who may feel like they’ve lost their way.
Even for those who have relatively good mental health, a motorcycle ride is a stress reliever. It leaves you feeling good when you arrive home.
Mental health and emotional health are two terms with grey lines dividing them. Mental health may manifest itself as depression, but emotional health is an overall sense of well being. That is why it is included as a reason riding a motorcycle is good for your health.
It is difficult to go on a motorcycle ride and remain angry. It is also very easy to have fun. In a very literal sense, riding a bike makes you have better emotions.
The effects of better emotional health have an impact on mental health issues such as depression. They get you out of the doldrums and let you feel the freedom life has given you.
A person who feels sad or angry a lot of the time can benefit from owning and riding a motorcycle. It is not advised to ride while in the heat of either of these emotions, but it can help to fully resolve them.
People often consider mental health as a taboo subject, but considering emotional health has been long-regarded as acceptable. No matter how you define these terms, they go hand in hand. If you have good emotional health, it will help your mental health.
Riding a Motorcycle is Good for Your Health IF Safe
Most people don’t acknowledge riding a motorcycle as good for your health because they believe it is a dangerous activity. This can be true, but it isn’t that dangerous when it is done in a safe manner. Of course, you are riding a motorcycle, so it doesn’t have an encapsulated drive space, but it is still relatively safe.
Make sure you are making motorcycle riding good for your health by investing in quality safety gear. This means riding pants, jackets, helmets, and boots. Make yourself as visible as possible, adding bright colors or flags when it fits your style. Lastly, ride with the idea that people may not see you. Try to stay visible to other drivers, and don’t drive erratically. Not every accident can be avoided, but safe motorcycle riding greatly improves your chances of avoiding an accident.
If you do get injured in an accident, and you are not or only partially at-fault, consider contacting a lawyer. If you’d like a consultation with an experienced attorney in Florida, contact the Law Offices of Kirshner, Groff, and Diaz.