Five ways that motorcycling is good for your mental health

World Mental Health Day is on the 10th of October, and Asda Money spoke with Leon Haslam to find out how riding helps us better our mental heatlh.

World Mental Health Day happy rider

Now more than ever, mental health awareness is at an all-time high. Following countless days spent in lockdown, many of us spent our time staring into space wondering when we’d be allowed back outside on our toys - or got far too invested into the simulated worlds of the Ride & MotoGP video game series. No judgement here, because that was me.

In a recent small survey of 1000 motorcyclists, Asda Money wanted to look at why people decided to ride. They also spoke with British road racer Leon Haslam for his comment on how motorcycling is an escape for (most) people.

The top reasons for enjoying motorcycling were found to be: enjoying a sense of freedom (59%), the thrill of riding a bike (40%) and the ability to travel (34%). But interestingly here, some riders expressed how two wheels have also helped them with anxiety and/or depression. 

Here are the five ways that they found riding improves mental health:

Brighten your mood

Apparently, scientists discovered that riding a motorcycle releases dopamine and endorphin hormones, which makes us feel happy. I don’t know about you, but even in a foul mood I can jump on a bike, and after a few miles everything feels right again. 

Is it because you’re focusing on nothing but what’s in front of (and around) you? Maybe. But simply put riding makes us happy. Happy makes us healthy.

Disconnect from technology

When you’re riding, you’re riding. You are served with that brief disconnect from the online world, and I’ve spoken to countless riders who consider putting their lid on as entering their own space. 

Now, I’ll refrain from the ‘bikes have so much tech and connectivity nowadays’ comment. I’ll also refrain from the ‘but you have intercom systems and phone connectivity’ comments. You can choose to ‘switch on to switch off’ if you want.

Enjoy the fresh air 

Open the visor on your lid in the countryside, and get a big whiff of cow poo - or fresh air. Motorcycling is an outdoor hobby, fresh air stimulates us and looking at trees apparently is called ‘tree bathing’ and reduces stress. Every day is a learning day!

Plus you can then flip the Visordown. Sorry, had to.

Meet new people 

How many times have you pulled up to a new place and met a biker, and instantly had something in common to talk about with them? Trading riding stories, route stories and bike gossip - motorcycling is a top way to meet new people. If you choose to join your local riding group, you’re instantly part of a network of riders. Plus, we all nod to each other when we are out. That makes us happy. 

You can also join our community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - there’s your invite!

Improve your physical health 

There’s been plenty of times where I’ve come back from a B-road blast and got an absolute sweat on. Riding can be very physically involving, whether you’re hauling a behemoth like the R18B around the twisties or on a lightweight sportsbike, you’ll be using your body to get around. And that right there is considered exercise. Exercise is proven as a top way to get your mind in the right place.

Leon Haslam, British Motorcycle road racer had this to say:
“It’s great that motorcycling can offer an escape for many people, whether it be from everyday life problems, stress or potential mental issues. The focus required from motorcycling is such that all other issues are forgotten and even if that is for a short period of time it could be invaluable. 

"Obviously racing is the ultimate distraction for me but climbing aboard a racing motorcycle in the pitlane has that same feeling as if I’m jumping on a road bike or my trials bike.”

So, this Sunday especially, get out on your bike for your own mental health, and tag us in your photos if you fancy. 

Nice one to Asda Money for conducting the survey, and they had this to say: 
“Asda Money offers a price guarantee* and multiple levels of cover, compare quotes online by visiting the website here.

*This offer is to beat your cheapest, like for like, online motorbike insurance quote and the guarantee applies to the basic policy price only. As a web provider this offer excludes telephone quotations. This offer only applies to permanent residents in the UK. Proof and validation of alternate quotes may be required before the guarantee is honoured."

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The focus required from motorcycling is such that all other issues are forgotten and even if that is for a short period of time it could be invaluable.