A recent report has confirmed that the pandemic has had a massive impact on the nation’s mental health and we are all becoming more aware of the need to take positive steps to support our mental well-being.
The good news is that us motorcyclists are at a massive advantage, because our chosen mode of transport has been proven to help – and yes, when we say proven, we mean it.
Riding actually brightens your mood
Scientists have discovered that riding a motorcycle releases dopamine and endorphins – hormones that make us feel happy. When you hit the throttle or nail the perfect set of twisties, your body produces adrenaline and floods your brain with happy hormones. A neurobiological study conducted by a team of three researchers from UCLA in California found that riding a motorcycle decreased hormonal biomarkers of stress by 28%.
You’re in the fresh air
It sounds obvious, but being out in the fresh air – let’s assume you’re not riding through Piccadilly Circus at rush hour – with the sights, sounds and smells of nature around you, helps stimulate your senses, lifting your mood and reducing stress in the process.
You switch off from everything else
While riding you’re concentrating on the job in hand, (or you should be), which is rather like meditation – focussing the mind to achieve mental clarity, and an emotionally calm and stable state. Basically, when you’re absorbed in riding, everything else disappears from your mind and you feel much better for it.
You feel part of something bigger
From nodding to each other as we pass, to pulling up at a greasy spoon and talking to complete strangers about their bike, their kit and where they’ve just ridden, being a motorcyclist automatically makes you part of a community. That feeling of being accepted, alongside the actual interactions we all have when out riding, go a long way to helping you stay positive.
It can also improve your physical health
Riding can be a very physical pursuit – whether you’re hauling a fully loaded adventure bike down some green lanes, hustling a sportsbike round a bendy A-road or even just scything your way through rush hour traffic on a scooter, you will be using muscles and raising your heart rate. In other words, aerobic exercise. And we all know that a healthy body equals a healthy mind!
If ever you needed an excuse to ride more, this is it.