Harley-Davidson funded a study that revealed what all motorcyclists already know: riding motorcycles reduces stress and has beneficial effects on mental health.
The study was conducted by three researchers at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, led by neuroscientist and public speaker Dr. Don Vaughn. The research for the study included monitoring the biological and physiological responses of more than 50 experienced riders, using portable EEG devices. Parameters measured included heart rate, electrical brain activity, and levels of adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol.
Riders subjected to the study had their brain activity and hormone levels measured before, during and after riding a bike, driving a car and resting. The results revealed that riding a bike decreased hormonal biomarkers of stress, increased heart rates and adrenaline levels, enhanced sensory focus more than while driving a car, and increased alertness. The changes in heart rate and adrenaline were similar to those experienced during light exercise.
“The differences in participants’ neurological and physiological responses between riding and other measured activities were quite pronounced,” Vaughn said in a press release. “This could be significant for mitigating everyday stresses.”
So there you have it. If you’re feeling the stress of everyday life bearing down on you, hop on your motorcycle and go for a ride – doctor’s orders.