Studies have found that riding a motorcycle gives rise to several ‘feel good’ hormones that improve one’s mood, reduces stress increases pleasure and minimizes pain. These results are based on a study conducted by UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, funded by Harley Davidson. It was conducted on a group of bikers who rode their bikes along a predetermined route of 22 miles under normal conditions.
These riders were hooked up to a mobile electroencephalogram (EEG), a sort of shower cap like device covered with electrodes to detect brain electrical activity. The riders brain activity and hormone levels were monitored before the ride, while they were driving a car and while they were resting so as to arrive at a proper comparison.
Brain activity of these riders, their hormone levels and vital statistics which were recorded before, during and after the ride and the results were startling. Levels of adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol were recorded using mobile EEG technology. Riding increased adrenaline levels and heart rate while there was a notable decrease in cortisol. Brain activity of the 50+ participants, after riding a bike, driving a car and resting were recorded.
The study drew attention to the fact that riding a motorcycle reduced stress by 28 percent. It increased participant’s heart rate by 11 percent and pushed up adrenaline levels by as much as 27 percent which is what is seen when one does light exercise at a gym.
The report also found that the levels of sensory focus improved in the riders as compared to those who drove a car with the level of increase in alertness were similar to drinking a cup of coffee.
The final report, which is entitled ‘The Mental and Physical Effects of Riding a Motorcycle’, will be presented later this year as indicated by Harley Davidson. The company hopes that these findings will inspire the next generation of riders to gain benefits from this experience, improve health, fitness and mental abilities.