Dr Ryuta Kawashima, author of the very popular Nintendo game Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain has reported that the outcome of his study “The relationship between motorcycle riding and the human mind.” shows that riding a motorcycle every day might actually keep your brain functioning at peak condition.
The study, conducted by Dr Kawashima at the University of Tokyo, demonstrated that riders between the ages of 40 and 50 were shown, compared to a control group, to improve levels of cognitive functioning after riding their motorcycles daily to their workplace for a mere two months.
The team of Scientists believe that the extra concentration needed to successfully operate a motorcycle can contribute to higher levels of general brain function and it’s that increase that’s surely a contributing factor to the appeal of the motorcycles as transportation. It’s the way a ride on a bike turns the simplest journey into a challenge to the senses that sets the motorcyclist apart from the everyday commuter. While the typical car-owning motorist is simply transporting themselves from A to B, a motorcyclist is actually transported into an entirely different state of consciousness. Riding a motorcycle is all about entrance into an exclusive club where the journey actually is the destination.
Dr Kawashima’s experiments involved riders who’s average age was 45 and who currently rode on a regular basis and ex-riders who once rode regularly but had not ridden for 10 years or more. The participants were asked to ride eight different courses in differing circumstances whilst their brain activity was recorded. The courses included a series of curves, poor road conditions, steep hills, hair-pins and a variety of other riding challenges.
After an analysis of the data, it was found that current riders and ex-riders used their brain in very different ways. When the current riders rode motorcycles, specific segments of their brains (the right hemisphere of the prefrontal lobe) was activated and riders demonstrated a higher level of concentration. So regular riders it seems have a more active brain!
His next experiment was to test how making a habit of riding a motorcycle affects the brain.
Trial subjects were otherwise healthy people who had not ridden for 10 years or more. Over the course of a couple of months, those riders used a motorcycle for their daily commute and in other everyday situations while the team studied how their brains and mental health changed. The upshot was that the use of motorcycles in everyday life improved cognitive faculties, particularly those that relate to memory and spatial reasoning capacity.
An added benefit was discovered when participants revealed on questionnaires that their stress levels had been reduced and their mental state had changed for the better.
So are these benefits exclusive to motorcycles and scooters? Does driving a car have the same effect? Apparently not. Kawashima said. “A car is a comfortable machine which does not activate our brains. By using motorcycles more in our life, we can have positive effects on our brains and minds”.
So there you have it not only do motorcycles and scooters save you money, get you to work and home quicker and are kinder to the environment they also make you happier and smarter.