We’ve all seen countless headlines & articles saying that science is finally backing up what we as motorcyclists have known for a very long time: riding a motorcycle is good for you! I’m not really smart enough to have come up with anything ground breaking to add; so what to write? Given the time of year for those of us that are shortly going to be forced to deal with winter lets talk P.M.S. or Parked Motorcycle Syndrome.
During my research it seems to be widely acknowledged that the medicinal benefits of riding can be compartmentalized into four categories: increased brain activity, improved mental health, enhanced core strength and the burning of calories. As I said I don’t really have anything that can be added to the countless online pages devoted to this but perhaps a brief investigation of each will help better define P.M.S.
There is simply no debating that safely operating a motorcycle takes up (or at least should be taking up) nearly all of your mental concentration. Navigating traffic, avoiding cagers, maintaining speed, balance. It’s a full sensory experience. This degree of mental focus keeps your brain working at an extremely high level of cognitive functionality, releases adrenaline, endorphins and decreases the brain’s level of stress. This ends up having a positive physiological affect on your prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for memory & learning. Currently I think my prefrontal cortex might be on fire?
With this said it then stands to reason that without an adrenaline pumping, endorphin releasing, cognitive functionality tickling motorcycle ride we are decreasing the physical size of the prefrontal cortex, increasing the size of something called the Amygdala (nobody wants a fat Amygdala) which places more stress on the brain. To make matters worse this all combines and makes the brain even more susceptible to stress. It’s a vicious cycle!
So in an effort to to battle one’s P.M.S. part of the prescription will be to find another way to get that brain working and adrenaline pumping. How you choose to do this will depend on you, clearly we’re all different. Just don’t spend the winter sitting around on your big fat Amygdala!
In the next few blogs I’ll go into more detail on each the remaining medicinal benefits of riding but please feel invited to leave your thoughts, comment or questions below.