(HDMC, Original Article, January 17, 2019)
Motorcyclists have long championed riding as their main road to stress relief and positive mental health. Today, the results of a neurobiological study conducted by a team of three researchers from UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior yielded pioneering scientific evidence revealing the potential mental and physical benefits of riding. Funded by Harley-Davidson, the study found that motorcycling increased metrics of focus and attention, and decreased relative levels of cortisol, a hormonal marker of stress.
Researchers recorded participants’ brain activity and hormone levels before, during, and after motorcycling, driving a car, and resting. While riding a motorcycle, participants experienced increased sensory focus and resilience to distraction. Riding also produced an increase in adrenaline levels and heart rate, as well as a decrease in cortisol metrics – results often associated with light exercise and stress-reduction.[i] [ii]*
● Riding a motorcycle decreased hormonal biomarkers of stress by 28% [i]*
● On average, riding a motorcycle for 20 minutes increased participants’ heart rates by 11 percent and adrenaline levels by 27 percent—similar to light exercise [ii] [iii] [iv]*
● Sensory focus was enhanced while riding a motorcycle versus driving a car, an effect also observed in experienced meditators vs non-meditators [v][vi] [vii] [viii]*
● Changes in study participants’ brain activity while riding suggested an increase in alertness similar to drinking a cup of coffee [ix] [x] [xi] [xii] [xiii] [xiv]*
*See FULL ARTICLE for sources