Motorcycle Riding Reduces Stress, According to Science

If you have ever been around a motorcycle rider, I’m sure you are familiar with them going on rides to “clear their heads” or think over something. These experiences are regularly discussed among riders, but some people (especially many close to the riders themselves) question whether riding has any real specific benefit.

It leads to many questions about whether motorcycles have any real benefit over just taking a ride in a car or even just taking a moment for yourself. That’s where science comes in.

Scientists from UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior come in. In collaboration with Harley-Davidson, they have conducted a scientific research study to measure both brain activity and hormone levels in riders before and after a motorcycle ride to determine if the biological outcomridingide on a motorcycle lines up with the rider’s reports.

To do this, the researchers recorded brain activity in riders before, during, and after riding on a motorcycle as well as while driving a vehicle and at rest (these latter two recordings were so that they could accurately compare each individuals activity during each condition honestly decide if riding the motorcycle provided specific benefits). essentialortant in a scientific study to rule out other possibilities for an effect people see.

So, in this example, to see if riding in ve provides benefits or if taking some time to yo,  yourself in g, offers the same benefits as taking a ride by yourself on your motorcycle. If they find differences between these conditions and the ridbikercycle, it promotes substantialronger evidence that ridbikeroffersovides specific benefits.

To measure brain activity, researchers used an EEG. The machine allows us to measure brain activity using recordings taken from the scalp using small electrodes. This will enable researchers to measure whole brain activity in real time without doing anything invasive. They also took blood samples at each time point to measure hormone levels. In terms of these hormones, they majorly focused on cortisol, a biomarker of stress levels.

They found that during riding and after, EEG signatures of focused attention and increased sensory awareness, meaning they were more aware of the world around them. They also found an increase in alertness overall. Results were not as precise for making a car rirestingresting.

On the hormone front, the stress hormone cortisol was reduced on average by 28 percent when riding a motorcycle, pointing to potential benefits of riding for stress reduction, something riders frequently report as to why they ride.

These results suggest that motorcycle riders taking a ride shows all the neural signatures of clearing their head.

While this study may seem very specific, a critical addition to science, in general, is proof of the fact that a neurobiological study conducted in actual world cond has been rather rare in studies.