Riding motorcycles helps keep you young: expert

5th March 2009, Comments 1 comment

Riding motorcycles activates your brains and can lead to smart ageing, say popular “Brain Training” computer software scientist.

TOKYO – Riding motorcycles helps keep drivers young by invigorating their brains, the scientist behind popular "Brain Training" computer software said Wednesday, citing a new scientific study.

"The driver's brain gets activated by riding motorbikes" in part because it requires heightened alertness, Ryuta Kawashima said after his research team and Yamaha Motor conducted a string of experiments involving middle-aged men.

"In a convenient and easy environment, the human mind and body get used to setting the hurdle low," he warned. "Our final conclusion is that riding motorcycles can lead to smart ageing."

Kawashima is the designer of "Brain Training" software, which incorporates quizzes and other games and is available on the Nintendo DS game console under the name "Brain Age" in North America.

A self-professed motorcycle fan, 49-year-old Kawashima cited a new study conducted jointly by Yamaha and Tohoku University, for which he works.

One experiment involved 22 men, all in their 40s and 50s, who held motorcycle licences but had not taken a ride for at least a decade.

They were randomly split into two groups - one asked to resume riding motorcycles in everyday life for two months, and another that kept using bicycles or cars.

"The group that rode motorbikes posted higher marks in cognitive function tests," Kawashima said.

In one test, which required the men to remember a set of numbers in reverse order, the riders' scores jumped by more than 50 percent in two months, while the non-riders' marks deteriorated slightly, he said.

The riders also said they made fewer mistakes at work and felt happier.

"Mental care is a very big issue in modern society," said Kawashima. "I think we made an interesting stir here as data showed you can improve your mental condition simply by using motorbikes to commute."

AFP / Expatica

1 Comment To This Article

  • IronMan posted:

    on 5th March 2009, 18:54:34 - Reply

    Absolutely! My Dad was diagnosed with Cancer and at one point given a 6 month to 3 year tops time frame; but he kept riding his motorcycle and doing major trips every Summer, even when he was going through chemotherapy and surgeries. The day before we left for Milwaukee in 2003 for Harley-Davidson's 100th Anniversary he had his final chemo treatment, and the next morning were were headed up the highway for a 2 week trip. The Doctors were all amazed that he kept going for 10 years, and continually commented on his sharp wit and sense of humor through it all and right to the end. I think attitude played a big part, too; but I firmly believe that him being on that bike made the most difference.

    As for me, back in my college days I would be up late doing homework, reports and such. Sometimes I would get a mental block or just peter out; but a ride up the road on my bike would both clear my head and put me in the right frame of mind to complete my work. There's definitely something to be said in favor of the article.... ;-)