Scientists Concur That Riding Motorcycles Reduces Stress

  • We have long known that riding motorcycles reduces stress.

  • However, there was no real result to show non-believers.

  • Now a research concur that riding is really beneficial for health.

There is a meme which says “Therapy: You never see a motorcycle parked outside a psychiatrist’s office.” Every serious motorcyclist knows there’s nothing more pleasurable than riding a motorcycle. However, there was no empirical result to show non-believers.

Now, a group of researchers from UCLA’s Semel Institue for Neuroscience and Human Behavior has just confirmed it as a fact. The research was funded by Harley-Davidson and to be presented later this year.

50 experienced riders took part in the study. They wore a mobile electroencephalogram (EEG) which looks like a shower cap covered with electrodes to detect the brain’s electrical activity. Their brain activity and hormone levels were recorded before they got on a bike. They were then set loose on a motorcycle and a car afterwards.

The results were:
  • Riding a motorcycle reduces cortisol stress biomarkers by 28%.
  • Riding a motorcycle for 20 minutes increased heart rates by 11% and adrenaline by 27%. The readings were similar to a light exercise.
  • Sensory focus was enhanced while riding a motorcycle compared to driving a car.
  • Brain activity suggested increased alertness while riding compared to driving.

UCLA Professor and senior team member, Dr. Mark Cohen said that no lab experiment could duplicate the feelings a motorcyclist has on the open road.

“The differences in participants’ neurological and physiological responses between riding and other measured activities were quite pronounced,” continued Dr. Don Vaughn. “This could be significant for mitigating everyday stresses.”

So, there you have it. Whoever created that meme was right.



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