April 03, 2019

Your Brain While Riding

By Louis Rondeau
Your Brain While Riding

"You never see a motorcycle outside a therapist's office."

We’ve all heard this quote and as motorcyclists, we know it and understand it, but didn’t know the science behind it. Thanks to some recent research we have a better understanding that riding affects a few things in the ol’ noggin.

We'll start with Cortisol, which is the main stress hormone that controls mood, motivation, and fear. Studies show that chronically elevated levels of cortisol increase blood pressure & blood sugar levels and can greatly affect sleep quality. Another hormone related to stress is dehydroepiandrosterone-S (DHEA-S). DHEA-S helps to make hormones such as testosterone and estrogen, which production naturally decreases with age. DHEA-S is believed to be released in the body as a response to stressful situations. Riding significantly decreases the level of cortisol DHEA-S ratio, indicating stress relief.

N1 is an indication of visual stimulation focusing on selective attention. Riding found a lower N1 amplitude, suggesting that riding strengthens and heightens focus. The research also shows an increase in MMN response. The combination of lower N1 and increase MMN indicate that riding strengthens focus, heightens awareness of changes in the environment (changes in sights, sounds, and smells, the feel of the temperature and humidity changes.

We now know that Motorcycle riding heightens focus and increases attention span, comparable to drinking a cup of coffee. It also increases hormone levels and heart rate, comparable to light exercise.

Spring is around the corner, lets do some "light exercise" and drink a cup of coffee together.

Read more here.

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