While the cager public likes to believe that riders are a stupid bunch of people who like to risk their life for no reason, we know it’s far from the truth. I’ve always seen bikers to be generally smarter than most people who never ride. As it turns out, my observation wasn’t baseless. A recent study done by a scientist at the University of Tokyo actually backs the belief that riding makes a person smarter.
There’s a lot that goes into riding a motorcycle, and that’s precisely what makes riding an actual mental exercise.
Just think of all the things you do when you ride. You balance your motorcycle, you seek to have a 360-degree vision, you see several vehicles ahead of you, and you’re constantly on the lookout for an inattentive driver close to you might do. And then of course, you’re always looking for the smallest of road obstacles that can strike you off your balance.
Now, most people would think these things are just ways to stress yourself.
And that’s true if you ride once in months. But, when you do it every day, it becomes an automatic function. It ceases to cause stress, and just elevates your brain function. The study by Dr. Kawahima, a scientist at the University of Tokyo sought to prove just that. In order to do that, the researchers got together a group of 22 men aged between 40-60. All of them possessed motorcycle licenses, but none of them had used them in the past 10 years. The researchers then randomly divided these 22 men into 2 groups of 11 each.
One group was asked to ride their motorcycles daily, while the other group continue to ride their cars.
This carried on for some 60 days. At the end of these 60 days, all these research subjects were asked to take tests to gauge their cognitive functions. And as you’d expect, the ones who rode daily scored better on all the tests. In one of tests, where the participants had to remember a set of numbers in reverse order, the daily riders scored 50% better than what they did at the start of the study. Meanwhile, the cagers showed a slight decline in their scores. All-in-all, the researchers concluded a direct correlation between riding and better cognitive function.
As for the lower stress levels, the researchers propose that it is because of the constant release of endorphins from all the adrenaline rush one gets while riding. But there’s one catch to it all. All these benefits that come from riding apparently aren’t permanent. They cease to exist when you stop actively riding.
How far have you seen this positive effect of riding in your own life versus your peers who don’t ride? Did you feel dumber when you had to give up riding momentarily for some reason? Share with us in the comments section below.