Bikers have been saying it since the 1st motorcycle was ever ridden, and now a new UCLA study financed by Harley-Davidson® proves it: "Riding a Motorcycle Improved Metrics of Focus and Decreased Stress Biomarkers". The study found that there's a vitality and heightened sensory experience that comes from the freedom of riding. The neurobiological study published on January 17, 2019, was conducted by a team of researchers from UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. The team recorded participants' brain activity and hormone levels before, during, and after riding, driving a car and while resting. The results provide scientific evidence revealing the potential mental and physical benefits of riding motorcycles. While riding, participants experienced increased "sensory focus and resilience to distraction". The study also found an increase in adrenaline and heart rate which if often associated with light exercise and a decrease in cortisol metrics. Cortisol is a steroid hormone which is often linked to our body's stress response. Stress levels, especially among young adults, continue to rise, and people are exploring pathways to better their mental and physical health. Until recently, the technology to rigorously measure the impact of activities like motorcycling on the brain didn't exist, said Dr. Don Vaughn, the neuroscientist who led the research team.The brain is an amazingly complex organ and it's fascinating to rigorously investigate the physical and mental effects riders report.
- Riding a motorcycle decreased hormonal stress biomarkers by nearly 30% (28%)
- Riding a motorcycle for 20 minutes, on average, increased participants' heart rates by 11 percent and adrenaline levels by 27 percent which is similar to doing light exercise
- Sensory focus was enhanced while riding a motorcycle versus driving a car, an effect also observed in those who meditate.
- Participants' brain activity while riding a motorcycle indicated an increase in alertness similar to drinking a cup of coffee