Why Motorcycling is a Good Form of Exercise
Riding a motorbike for just 30–minutes has the same health benefits as going for a jog or completing a round of golf. As a low impact, calorie-burning exercise, motorcycling can even help to promote weight loss.
From the moment you lift your motorcycle off the side stand, you're doing a low–impact exercise session. Your bike may support your weight but paddle around while maneuvering in or out of a space and it's leg day at the two–wheeled gym.
Move forward and you're working the bicep femoris (rear leg bicep), gastrocnemius (calf muscles) and gluteus maximus (bum muscles).
Push yourself backward, and your entire quadriceps (four large muscles in your thigh) come into play. These leg exercises continue every time you come to a halt at a junction or traffic light and when you lean into a bend and put pressure on the opposite footpeg.
The moment your feet rest on the pegs, the workout continues up to the torso. Whether you've got a one pack or a full set, your abdominal muscles are responsible for keeping you upright along with the erector spinae in the lower back.
Reach for the bars, and it's the turn of the latissimus dorsi (V–shaped side muscles), deltoids (shoulders) and triceps (rear arm) to step up. Add to this, brake, clutch and throttle operation, and all 20 of your forearm muscles are pumping away.
Winner by a Neck
Wearing a full–face helmet for long periods, battling headwinds and twisting your head side to side, will build your anterior and posterior neck muscles.
By now, you should be getting a complete picture of the major muscle groups a rider uses every time he or she slings a leg over the saddle.
It's a fact, riding motorcycle tones the muscles and improves core strength. The overall positive health impact of biking doesn't end there, however, as we still haven't covered that huge muscle between the ears.
Mind Over Matter
Regardless of your circumstances, there will be times in life when stress takes a hold, like hot tarmac to a new tyre. Stress is the leading cause of depression and according to the NHS, around 11 million adults in the UK take anti–depressants.
While your GP is unlikely to suggest riding a motorcycle as an alternative to prescription drugs any time soon, riding is clinically proven to reduce stress. As bikers, we've known about the stress–busting benefits of biking for years, but how exactly does this work?
Firstly, pick up a helmet, put on gloves, turn the ignition key, and your body will kick–start your cognitive faculties. The psychological changes in the right side of the frontal lobe allow for complex thought, planning, voluntary movement and speech.
All of which are essential for spotting a potential hazard and taking action to avoid an accident.
This process will allow the rider to compartmentalise everyday problems and enjoy the subsequent ride. Extensive research by Japanese neuroscientist, Ryuta Kawashima, at the University of Tokyo and Yamaha, concludes that riding a motorcycle could prevent the onset of dementia.
Also, under normal circumstances, the human body reacts to stress by pumping adrenaline into its system. Known as the fight or flight hormone, alongside it’s physical effects it may help to combat stress.
In a study funded by Harley–Davidson at the Department of Neuroscience, University of California, a 30–minute motorcycle ride increased adrenaline levels by almost 30 percent and the heart rate by 11 percent. These percentage increases result in endorphins entering the bloodstream. It is these that trigger a feeling of positivity similar to that experienced when exercising.
It's an open and shut case. Motorcycling is not only good but an excellent form of exercise for the mind, body, and soul.