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Motorcycling Relieves Stress

Last Update: December 2020

Ask any rider, and they’ll tell you they enjoy riding because of the freedom it provides. Motorcycles are more than just vehicles and machines, but companions.


It doesn’t matter whether you ask a commuter or an off-road adventurist – they’ll all tell you that it brings joy, sense of adventure, freedom, and fun.


The study conducted by three researchers from UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior shows that motorcycling relieves stress. While there’s a physical benefit to riding, its physical benefits are now also scientifically proven.


Take a few minutes to discover all the benefits of motorcycling and how it can help you relieve stress.

Can Riding Really Relieve Stress?

The above mentioned research showed that motorcycling indeed reduces your stress level. Harley Davidson also did research, tracking brain activity and hormone levels during and after riding, and while resting and driving a car.


The results showed plenty of physical and mental benefits of riding, such as decreased levels of cortisol.


Even famous bikers James Dean and Marlon Brando said they love riding because it helps them to relax and think in silence.

A Man and Woman With Their Motorcycles Illustration

Research Overview

Harley-Davidson funded the study to show that motorcycling can indeed reduce stress. The researches recorded brain activity and hormone levels before and after, but also during the ride. They also recorded the change that happened during resting and driving a car.


The investigation was rather rigorous because the brain is a complex organ as the team leader Dr. Don Vaughn explained.


When compared to other activities like driving a car, motorcycling showed an increase in focus as well as adrenaline levels and heart rate.

The Experiment

All the participants were required to provide their saliva and urine samples. They got EEG caps before riding a motorbike or a car on a 22-minute route. They then provided a second same of their urine and saliva.


Some of them rode in Lake Henshaw while others were in Angeles Crest right outside of Los Angeles. The weather, as well as road conditions, were normal.


The difference noticed in saliva and urine samples of motorcycle riders was not noted in people who drove cars.


There was no doubt about the results as they were pretty clear. A simple ride on your motorbike decreases hormonal makers of stress by a total of 28%.

On top of that, a 20-minute ride can increase your heart rate by 11% and your adrenaline level by 27%. This is similar to what you’d feel after a light exercise.

Motorcycling increases your sensory focus much more than car driving. Also, the recorded brain activity shows increased alertness.

motorcycle and stress statistic results illustrated

Other Benefits of Motorcycling


Healthier Mental Outlook

Since riding a motorbike is so beneficial to your health, you’ll start feeling better the more you ride. You’ll probably be more relaxed even in dense traffic, which is something car drivers can’t really brag with.


Now you know why bikers are generally quite relaxed and chill.


Improved Focus

eye focus image

After a while, you’ll notice your focus improved. This is because motorcycling is a bit more dangerous than driving a car, so you’re required to pay extra attention.


A biker has to notice holes, other people and vehicles, small rocks on the road, and much more. The alertness helps to improve your focus as a whole.


Better Cognitive Function

Ryuta Kawashima partnered with Yamaha Japan and Tohoku University to prove that motorcycling can increase your cognitive function. The results showed that the increase is as high as 50%.

Your brain is activated when you ride because the activity requires quick problem-solving and high levels of alertness.


Better Neck Alignment

Illustration of Motorcycle Helmet

It can help with your neck alignment, but only if your body is well-positioned. In other words, if you have correct handlebars, footpegs, and a seat, you’re probably good to go. Also, it helps to wear a helmet.


Over time, you’ll pull your neck vertebrae into alignment, achieving the proper curvature. However, the right fit is critical.


Stronger Knees and Thighs

Orthopedic surgeons were who noticed that riders don’t have as many knee issues as car drivers. This is because riding a motorbike strengthens all the muscles that hold the patella. It also helps to strengthen the bones and all the critical parts in the thighs and knees.


Burns Calories

illustration of body weight scales

One of the best things about it is that it burns calories.


Constant riding counts as exercise, burning up to 600 calories per hour. If you think this isn’t as groundbreaking, remember that non-bikers burn only 200 to 300 calories per hour.


Find out more about burning calories while biking here.


Stronger Core

Pretty much all of your muscles are engaged when you ride a motorbike. While you get to improve your knees and thighs, you’re also improving your core strength. Moving your vehicle at the slow speed does a great job of strengthening the muscles in your abdomen.


Improved Insulin Sensitivity

As we said, motorcycling is a low-impact exercise. Still, you can get a good workout by going on a ride around town at least once a day.


Another thing that you’re improving when riding is your insulin sensitivity. Your body still works to lose weight even up to eight hours after your ride.

Frequently Asked Questions

How dangerous are motorcycles?

Motorbikes might appear dangerous when compared to driving a car. However, there are many things more dangerous than a motorcycle, such as flu and second-hand smoke.


Make sure to wear protective gear and stay away from alcohol when driving to ensure a ride as safe as possible.

Is motorcycle riding healthy?

Motorcycle riding is proven to be good for your physical and mental health. Riding is freeing and relaxing even when you’re alert and focused on the road ahead.


The studies we mentioned earlier show how riding relieves stress and can be beneficial in the long run.


Are you thinking about buying a motorcycle or you already have one? Either way, hop on a ride around town the next time you’re feeling stressed. The experience will help you to relax and see things more clearly.


Plus, motorcycling burns calories, so you can even ride after a big meal if taking a walk doesn’t sound as appealing. You’re exercising your core, neck muscles as well as thighs. It’s definitely more fun than going to the gym.


However, stay alert and make sure to wear protective gear like riding pants, jacket, boots, and, of course, a helmet.

Road Racerz