Bikes are great therapy, that is what the meme tells us, “You never see a motorcycle parked outside a shrinks”. Of course that is not quite true, I know a few psychologists who ride their bikes to work!
Smart comments aside, there is truth in that piece of internet wisdom, I know three friends who have been diagnosed with chronic depression and although they are coming out of the dark times, they all tell me that riding their bikes has been the one thing that makes them feel “right” again. When they are on them they honestly forget the fact that they are ill and for however short a time the world is a great place again. Maybe it is the fact that you are truly alone when you are riding, even with a pillion each person is enclosed in a world of their own perceptions, or maybe it is the endorphins released during the ride that make you feel so good, but one thing is certain, and it has been proved:
“Riding motorcycles helps keep drivers young by invigorating their brains,” says Dr Ryuta Kawashima, Laboratory of the Department of Functional Brain Imaging, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer at Tohoku University
an average male bikers body...really we all look like this!
Summaries of Dr Kawashima’s research can be found with a quick internet search but basically it was proved that regularly riding your bike improves cognitive functions and also helps with mental and emotional health. Interestingly enough they also found out that when you stop riding the benefits gained disappear over time…as good an excuse as any I have heard to keep riding!
It is not only mental health that benefits from motorcycle riding. Anyone who has ridden any distance will know that your body gets a real work out, especially the neck, arms and abs but while your muscles are getting a work out you are also burning calories. At rest we tend to burn about 250 calories an hour, riding your bike it is more like 400, so you can ride to that burger bar and not feel guilty about it!
Just in case you didn't know!
It is not just those core muscles and the neck that benefit, would you believe that you knees and thighs also get a workout? Think of how you control a bike and think about how you use your thighs and knees when going over even a slightly bumpy road. Yes, those thigh muscles have to work and those muscles are the ones that help hold the knees in place. Every time you go for a ride your thighs and knee joints are getting a low impact workout!
Now here is something you might not have expected, riding your bike can help with type 2 Diabetes. Again, this is probably due to the mild workout you get when you ride. This workout burns the calories and sugars and so less insulin is needed to deal with them. Of course people suffering from Diabetes should remember to make sure that their sugar levels don’t drop too far, a great reason to stop and have a snack I would say.
If you need any better resons to keep on riding than these, just drop me a line and I will do my best to think of some…