Sunday, April 28, 2013

Health Benefits of Motorcycle Riding

Health Benefits of Motorcycle Riding
For a biker, there's nothing more exhilarating than a ride on their motorcycle. Whether it's just a quick run to the store or a cross-country road trip, they love the feel of the open air and the sensation of the engine's vibration as it courses through their body. No other mode of transportation even comes close to their beloved motorcycle.

If you enjoy riding your motorcycle, there's a high probability that non-riders tell you how dangerous it is. Many people will say that it's not a matter of if you'll be involved in an accident, but when. The next time you receive another lecture by someone who doesn't understand the joys of a motorcycle trip, you will be able to surprise them by offering a few pearls of wisdom in return. Most people don't realize that riding a bike can actually improve your health and well-being.

Motorcycle Riding Promotes Healthy Brain
Ryuta Kawashima, developer of the Brain Training software that is used in the Nintendo DS Brain Age game, is an avid motorcycle rider. At forty-nine, Kawahima not only credits his bike riding activities for helping to keep his brain functioning at a peak level, but also set out to prove that his idea. His theory is based on the fact that motorcycle riders must be more aware both physically and mentally while they are riding to avoid potential hazards when compared to drivers of four-wheel vehicles.

Kawahima's first study randomly divided twenty-two men into two groups. All of the men were in their 40s or 50's and possessed motorcycle licenses that had not been used in at least ten years. One group began riding motorcycles on a daily basis for the next sixty days, while the other continued to drive their cars, trucks, or bicycles. At the end of the trial period, cognitive tests were given to both groups. The motorcycle riders scored higher on the tests than the non-riding participants.

In another test with the same men, Kawishima asked the men to remember a set of numbers in reverse order. The men were tested before and after the sixty-day trial period. The scores of the active riders increased by more than 50% after riding for just two months, but the scores of the non-riders showed a slight decline.

Get Your Daily Exercise from a Motorcycle Seat
Anyone that's ridden a bike knows that it takes a lot of effort when compared to the sedentary pace of riding in a car. Controlling a motorcycle requires the frequent use of almost every muscle in your body. Even the lighter bikes weigh several hundred pounds, and your body will get a total workout as you maintain the bikes balance, steer safely, and avoid obstacles. If you ride on a regular basis, you may find that it improves your muscle tone more than those infrequent trips to the gym.

In addition to better toned muscles, exercise can benefit your body chemistry. Some diabetics report that they are able to reduce their insulin usage on days that they ride . The gentle but steady exercise that is experienced during a long ride tends to stimulate their system and can provide the same benefits as other forms of exercise. Of course, if you're a diabetic, it's best to be safe and pack a few snacks, as well as your medication, to make sure that your blood sugar levels remain stable.

Motorcycles Mean Instant Companionship
Whether you ride a Harley or a Honda, your first trip down the highway will open your eyes to the family that you joined when you decided to climb on a bike and rev the engine. Almost all bikers will wave to each other when passing, and they will automatically group up with other riders if they are traveling in the same direction. When you stop for a break or a bite to eat, most other bikers will usually join you as if you were a long lost friend. It appears that there are no strangers in the world of motorcycles.

While these casual relationships are nice, most bike riders also develop deeper relationships with other motorcycle owners as they seek out riding companions for longer trips. Studies show that healthy friendships reduce your stress levels and lead to longer, healthier lives. People with a good support network generally have lower blood pressure, stronger immune systems, and more positive attitudes.

Riding Improves Your Mood
Most motorcycle owners love their bike and wouldn't give up riding for anything in the world. Is it because they think the bike makes them look cool? Could it be that they love the adrenaline rush that comes with a fast ride just inches from the asphalt? Maybe it's the feeling of freedom that comes with packing light and just going off on a whim? The reason might be a little bit of each of those things, but the core reason is that the motorcycle makes them happy.

The importance of happiness to your health should not be minimized. Happy people live longer lives and experience less illness than those who suffer from anxiety or depression. Some doctors even think that happiness may be a bigger factor in living a long, happy life than smoking. Depressed moods or feelings of dissatisfaction increase stress levels and weaken the immune system. In time, sadness can bring about physical illness in addition to mental stress. If feeling the wind on your face from the seat of a bike instantly lifts your mood, your health will thank you for it. Your road trip could actually be part of your journey towards a healthy lifestyle.

Be Safe While Riding
Even though motorcycles can improve your physical and mental well-being, you can quickly negate the benefits if you neglect to take the proper safety precautions. Whether or not your area has helmet laws, you should always give strong consideration to riding with appropriate safety gear such as a motorcycle helmet and protective clothing and gloves. Taking the time to protect yourself could mean the difference between walking away from an accident, a stay in the hospital, or worse.

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