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Motorcycles Are Good For You

by Miller Langhorne

How many people have told you that riding a motorcycle is bad for you? According to the research being done, they're wrong.

Recent studies in the United States and other countries have measured the correlation between motorcycle riding and brain activity. If you're a rider, you can guess the conclusions. If you want to clear your mind, relieve stress, and get to your happy place, a motorcycle ride could be just the ticket. While riding a motorcycle might come with a set of inherent dangers, there are also many mental and physical benefits to be gained. Riding is good mental exercise. Just as physical activity keeps your body in shape, mental activity keeps your brain in shape. The brain can't help but be stimulated into action when you're riding. You see, hear, smell, and feel more. And, unlike driving an automobile, where you might get away with a momentary lapse in attention, you can't let that happen at any time when riding. Distracted driving in a car can mean a fender bender or worse. When you're riding a motorcycle, it's always worse. You don't have fender benders, you have bone crushers and skin scrapers.

From a global perspective they estimate that motorcyclists are 37 times more likely to die due to traffic accident injuries than those in other vehicles. You know many of the other drivers aren't giving the road their full attention, so when you ride, you have to focus. Anticipating going on a ride puts you in a good mood. Think about the differences in how you feel when you wake up and realize it's another work day compared to waking up with a day of riding on the schedule. The thought of going to work for many can trigger feelings of stress, anger, and a general unhappiness. Whereas when a new riding day dawns, a positive outlook is hard to suppress. Spending the day outside absorbing large amounts of fresh air and sunshine are natural happiness inducers. The riding skillset requires a certain level of physical dexterity and mental agility. Motorcyclists have been designated as one of the most vulnerable groups for road traffic injuries by the World Health Organization.

Not everyone is capable of riding a motorcycle. If you’ve been through a rider training program, it’s likely one or two of the people who were in your class at the beginning weren't around at the conclusion. After you’ve been riding for a while, you might think your ability to ride is a natural part of your DNA. Not true. While it may come more easily to some than others, the ability to navigate a bike is a learned skill. Experience builds confidence. Riding gives you a physical workout. Each ride can help you burn a few calories, providing you avoid the “Live to Ride, Ride to Eat” mantra. Keeping the bike balanced and leaning into the corners will give your feet, legs, arms and core a workout. The weight of a helmet and the resistance from the wind will strenghten your neck muscles. Riding can also help to improve your posture. You'll also burn more calories than any car driver and it's the most fun low-impact exercise you'll find. In conclusion, while there are risks that come with riding a motorcycle, if you follow the rules and wear the gear, riding can have a positive impact on your body and your mind.