Motorcycling is a lot of things to a lot of people, but “healthy” isn’t usually that first word that comes to mind when people think of riding (or the second... or the third).
It’s not difficult to figure out why this would be the case. Riding is a dangerous activity, and even a minor spill can result in torn skin, broken bones, and yes—even death. Not exactly the healthiest of outcomes!
But accidents and falls notwithstanding, motorcycle riding can actually be a pretty healthy activity and a lot of different ways. Consider the following:
Motorcycling is Good for the Knees and Thighs: According to Dr. Pamela Reilly’s Good Works Wellness blog, “riding a bike strengthens key muscles used to hold the patella and other bones in the knee in place,” resulting in fewer knee problems among riders than the general population. Those muscles are found in the thighs, making riding an effective workout for one of the body’s biggest muscle groups.
Motorcycle Riding is Good for the Core: Sitting upright, balancing, and steering a few hundred pounds of metal and chrome at highway speeds requires more core strength than the average person might think. This isn’t news to any riders out there, of course, but it’s worth keeping in mind!
(Bonus Tip: Next time you’re stuck at a red light or bored on a long-distance ride, break up the monotony by doing isometric core exercises—tighten and release your core muscles each for a few seconds at a time. Repeat until you feel like you’ve gotten a good workout in.)
Riding Can Be Good for Diabetics: Between the work, it does for the core and thighs, riding is a pretty decent low-impact exercise. According to another article by Dr. Reilly, a diabetic and motorcycle rider herself, “diabetics who ride may discover they need far less insulin or medication and/or need to eat more when they ride.... [Riding] also increases insulin sensitivity for 8-12 hours, further adding to the health benefits of riding a motorcycle.”
Riding Is a Stress Reducer: Ask any motorcycle enthusiast: Riding is a great stress buster. The open road can both excite or relax, but in any case, few people come back from a ride more stressed than when they left.
Given the health effects of stress, this is no small matter. Stress has been linked to conditions like a chronic headache, insomnia, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, digestive problems, weak immune system, and more. Anything that beats stress is a net positive for your health.
Motorcycling Builds Strong Friendships: There’s no community anywhere in the world like the motorcycle community. The friendships and bonds formed in a community like the one bikers enjoy don't just make life richer, they can make life longer too. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies have even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.”
Convinced yet? Next time someone tries to tell you you’re crazy for riding a motorcycle, tell them it’s for your health!
Image credit: Pixabay