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A recent study commissioned by Australia’s ING revealed that, on average, motorcyclists are happier than the average motorist. The study uncovered the therapeutic potential of motorcycle riding, with 82 per cent of riders agreeing that riding makes them happy — compared to only around 55 per cent of motorists.
A similar study by UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior recorded brain activity and hormone levels before, during and after riding a bike, driving a car and resting. The bike ride resulted in a 28 per cent decrease in biomarkers of stress.
Here’s why riding a bike can help your mental and even physical health:
Getting stuck in traffic has to be the reason why many of us hate getting out. So, logically, riding a bike reduces anxiety, simply because you’re not going to be jammed in, well, at least not as badly as your friends on four wheels. This can reduce stress and can even ease anxiety levels.
Improves brain health
It’s all eyes and ears on the road when you’re riding a motorcycle. This sensory focus means that riders are more alert to what is going on around them, increasing brain activity. Riding a bike increases alertness that’s similar to drinking a cup of coffee.
On average, a motorcyclist can burn up to 600 calories per hour depending on the terrain and body type. Your body is working hard to maintain balance, keep you steady against wind forces and supple enough to manoeuvre.
Riding a bike can be likened to doing a form of low-impact exercise. Apart from this, riding a bike also helps your posture and improves your core muscles over the long term. Also, don’t discount the vitamin D intake.
Part of a community
Riding a bike offers the best of both worlds: Solo time and being part of a larger biking community. Most avid motorcyclists are part of a larger community and this can boost happiness levels and improve mental health.