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Basem Wasef

Do Motorcycles Keep You Young?

By March 4, 2009

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Motorcycles Make You Young If you're tired of hearing about how motorcycles are supposedly responsible for everything from "death rays" to impotence, there's a new report that suggests that riding helps keep you young. And to that, I say, "Amen."

OK, the sources aren't totally objective-- AFP says the study was led by motorcycle enthusiast Ryuta Kawashima through Yamaha Motor Company and a Tohoku University study group. But anybody who has ridden can understand why the results makes sense: when the brain activity of 21 males was measured while riding, the areas of their brain responsible for memory, information processing and concentration were activated. Riders scored better in cognitive tests, and said they made fewer mistakes at work and felt happier.

Does riding keep you feeling younger and sharper, or does this study sound like hogwash? Comment away!

Photo © Terry Vine; click to enlarge

March 4, 2009 at 6:39 pm
(1) John says:

I am mentally younger when riding, even when thinking and talking about motorcycles. A side benefit to me, and perhaps not so for others, I lose weight when riding. Maybe I eat less, drink more fluids. I can ride for a long time before feeling hungry. It’s like having so much fun you forget to eat. So, that’s my side benefit.

March 5, 2009 at 12:39 am
(2) Lloyd ( North Vancouver Canada ) says:

Hogwash….? Oh…ya…isn’t that some new soap for washing your Harley…? ( LOL )

But on a serious note, I feel younger and more mentally alert after a good long ride, and my stress level drops more then just a little. So I would say that there is some truth to it, but then what works for me may not work for someone else.

March 5, 2009 at 10:35 am
(3) ronhawker says:

Hell yes! 65 this year and many bikes currently and I have been riding since I was 12. Certainly feel like I am in my 40′s. Commute to work and ride dirt and street frequently. I plan to have my 65th birthday at the MX track this year to celebrate. Yes I will ride not just show up. Ride there quite often.

March 5, 2009 at 12:49 pm
(4) IronMan says:

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…. ;-)

March 5, 2009 at 5:28 pm
(5) Pete says:

ABSOLUTELY !! I’m 56..riding full time since March 69. I’m having just as much fun now…probably more fun then when I was 19.
They’ll pry my sport bike out of my cold dead fingers.

March 5, 2009 at 8:43 pm
(6) Bonnie says:

I really do believe it has something to do with staying young & being more alert!

March 6, 2009 at 8:39 am
(7) Matthew says:

Definitely yes! If nothing else, riding relieves stress, which allows you to stay healthy longer. Not to mention the fact that as a rider you have to remain mentally engaged with your surroundings; the brain needs to be used to stay in shape.

March 6, 2009 at 9:30 am
(8) Vrocker says:

Be 74 soon and rode amost 15k miles last year and plan to do about 20k this year !!!

March 8, 2009 at 2:10 pm
(9) TR says:

I must say I agree with this study. I would be curious to see a study the mental state of riders, I bet it too would be positive. In addition for those who have seen the ED treatment commercial on TV, everyone knows a biker needs no help.

March 8, 2009 at 5:47 pm
(10) Cooler says:

A ride after work makes getting up all worthwhile. I don’t feel my age or act it either for that matter and got the speeding tickets to prove it. The girls will come, the girls will go, but the bike stays! I intend to ride for many more years.

March 8, 2009 at 10:13 pm
(11) scott says:

I dont know if motorcycling truly keeps you young. perhaps that can be said about anything that someone truly enjoys doing. However, I find riding an enormous stress reliever and mind cleanser. I love the wind, the scenery, and even the necessity of having to keep my eyes constantly on the roam, be it either for safety, or for observation of the beauty that surrounds me. Ialways feel so relaxed after a ride. Perhaps that’s the key. Scott

March 9, 2009 at 1:01 am
(12) Big john says:

No way…. I would rather be dumb than impotent…. Give me my sex drive back!!!!

March 11, 2009 at 10:30 am
(13) Dave says:

keeping young is a state of mind. With regard to motorcycle riding, it also makes you more aware of not only your surroundings but also things in general. And like any activity that makes you think it is a good thing, because you are involved and you have to plan, etc. I’m for it!

March 11, 2009 at 11:05 am
(14) breeze13 says:

OK, I’ll go with that. I just thought I was immature for my age!

March 11, 2009 at 11:20 am
(15) Forrest Horn, Sr. says:

This finding does not surpise me. I’m almost 66 years old, yet when I ride I feel about 25 again. It’s the primary reason most people ride. That feeling of total immersion in the control of the bike, the intense focus, the feeling of freedom, are enough to make anyone want to stay young and continue to ride as long as possible. : ))

March 11, 2009 at 11:47 am
(16) Dr Love says:

YES! DEFINITELY! I have two bikes. But my favourite is my 2000 Kawasaki W650. I’m soon to be 48 this year, but when I’m riding “Star Baby” (W650), I am immediately transformed back to the late 1970s/early 1980s when I was in my late teens and early 20s. My stress and blood pressure issues are far out of mind when I’m riding.

March 11, 2009 at 11:51 am
(17) Dotty says:

I agree completely. I’m 59 years young and love every minute of riding. The connection between you and your bike…the freedom of the road…less stress…much enjoyment. I’ve put 34,000 miles on my Yamaha 650 in the last 4 years and planning a 4,000 mile this summer. Hopefully in retirement me and my husband can ride a lot more.

March 11, 2009 at 12:02 pm
(18) harleyrider says:

Without a doubt! Riding forces you to stay alert/focused. This in turn keeps the mind young and as we’ve always heard: You’re as young as you think you are! Turned 60 this past year and when the time comes to go to my resting place, I want to be buried with my Harley so I can ride when I get there. That’s heaven!

March 11, 2009 at 12:12 pm
(19) Fred in CT says:

Yes, as they say, you don’t stop riding because you get old, you get old because you stop riding……

Motorcycling practices balance, reflexes, vision, mental concentration, etc…… all key in keeping you young.

March 11, 2009 at 12:14 pm
(20) Peter says:

When I’m riding, I lose all sense of age and feel agile. Now I’ve got a naked street bike, I feel even more so. Twisting and doing that asphalt dance. When I get home and look in the mirror in the foyer, I am completely shocked at the old guy looking back! It doesn’t jive at all. I also feel younger when I think of the fact I have a bike, or when folks talk about me having one. I think doing advance Sudoku keeps my brain young though. :-)

March 11, 2009 at 12:43 pm
(21) paul says:

Of course, all surviving riders do think more quickly and are more focused and more observant about their environmnet than those who dont..those who don’t well they’re dead…motorcycle riding helps thin out the gene pool ….i love to ride, keeps me alive and well and a young 60

March 11, 2009 at 1:25 pm
(22) Gerry (Coquitlam Canada) says:

Riding definitely keeps the fog off, clears the webs and leaves me fresh, alert, and sharp. Long term, all that has to be good for you.
I wonder how many folks commenting here have heard from their wives or partners (all due respect to the lady rider out there) “You’re too old for that.” or “It can’t be good for your prostate, ya’ know” or “You need your glasses changed this season.”
I don’t know about the rest of you, but there are probably some (like me) showing this to their significant other and saying, “See, Honey. There’s lots of us out there. Riding makes you healthier, smarter and sexier.”
Have a GREAT Spring/Summer

March 11, 2009 at 1:53 pm
(23) bob says:

It is my opinion that riding has many health benifits. For instance after a 10yr. absence from riding I was on prozac and my wife finaly after paying off our truck and car said I could buy another bike. We found a sportster we could afford and after riding for a couple of months I was able to throw my prozac away. I no longer go through bouts of depression and the wife and I seldom fight,(unless she has chores for me and I want to ride then she tells me to go riding and cool off)and it is true about loosing weight when I ride alot I lose about 30lbs during riding season.So I say ride alot and be healthy and happy!!!!

March 11, 2009 at 2:30 pm
(24) Dee Spearman says:

I know that my bike keeps me young. I am 66 and I know that it helps me with my stress and depression. To feel the wind in my face I let my mind rest of the problems I face.There is nothing like having my own bike.

March 11, 2009 at 2:39 pm
(25) M Thomas says:

I firmly believe this study. On my last job, I used to ride to work most days. It was always funny to me that my employees could tell if I rode my bike or not without looking to see my garb. Not being a “morning” person, I was always happier when I rode the cycle. The feeling you have when you get off of the bike after a ride, how everything just feels newer and different – has never gone away for me.

March 11, 2009 at 3:01 pm
(26) Grant says:

I would agree that riding motorcycles “keeps us young” as much as any other sport that would require mental and physical alertness and good physical conditioning. I don’t believe that riding motorcycles keeps us young in the sense that there’s a cause-effect relationship between the two.

Motorcycling is an activity/ sport for those who are able to handle its multi-tasking challenges, and that would apply to anyone who’s'”young” or “old”, chronologically speaking.

I agree with all who claim motorcycling relieves stress,that is, the negative work-related etc stress. I find my mood has improved substantially since I began commuting to work on my 2007 BMW 800ST and 2008 Yamaha FZ-1 and I stopped driving my cars. It’s helped me deal with the crises that my clients invariably present me when I roll to my law offices, as I’m in a good mood after an exhilirating and relatively uneventful ride.

Now, one can get older very quickly while riding bikes, when one has to deal with folks yakking on the cell phones and oblivious to one’sr form and stature atop one’s'bike!

March 11, 2009 at 3:29 pm
(27) Glen says:

I’m 68 and look forward to the first good riding day after a long cold winter. Yes it does make me feel younger to ride with and share the road with other bikers and I really get a kick when I take off my helmet and surprise on lookers and they see this grey haired old geezer riding a cruiser.

March 11, 2009 at 4:19 pm
(28) Bill Barclay says:

@73 I agree young is a good bike

March 11, 2009 at 4:22 pm
(29) steve says:

There is no doubt motorbikes keep you younger or should i say mind alert if iam feeling down i just get on my bike and guess what iam alive again !!!

March 11, 2009 at 4:47 pm
(30) Paul says:

For years my doctor has recommended that I take a ride on my bike daily as it helped keep my blood pressure down where it belongs, seriously.
When ever I rode my Honda Shadodw Spirit to his office my blood pressure would always be low normal. When I went in my pickup truck it was always high.
When I take the bike out now I tell my wife that it is doctor’s orders.

March 11, 2009 at 8:02 pm
(31) gary says:

yes, this is the first year for me riding, and difnitely feel younger, and I am in my 50′s lol, another benefit of riding is it is helping me to quite smoking, as unlike driving a car, it is much harder to smoke when riding, and i d rather do that then smoke……. so ya helping in many ways

March 11, 2009 at 9:33 pm
(32) Arnie says:

I am 68 years old and ride almost every day. Most of my fellow riders are at least 15 years younger than me and can’t believe my age. It gets a little harder each year to get my leg over the seat, but I keep going.

March 11, 2009 at 11:23 pm
(33) Shahwar Hussain says:

I dont think the article is hogwash. I am 40 and I conduct guided motorcycle tours through North East India. Everytime I ride, I feel the years peel away and I ride with the same zeal, alertness and happiness that I did 20 years back. Motorcycling definately makes one younger and happier. May the tribe increase!!

March 12, 2009 at 9:15 am
(34) Margarita says:

Defiantly riding keeps u alive n very young… for me its like i forget any problems or thoughts. It relieves stress n i feel very alive although am still young..every time i ride i just feel relief n happy. Absolutely spectacular:)…

March 12, 2009 at 11:46 am
(35) NORM says:


March 13, 2009 at 3:53 am
(36) Daffyd says:

Definitely! I am 67 and since taking up riding I feel like a sixteen year-old.

Unfortunately the sixteen year-old doesn’t feel the same way about me!

March 13, 2009 at 4:10 am
(37) Beemer Rider @63 says:

Read all the letters.LOL’s.But the truth of matter is that all riders are younger in spirit and that means your body will follow.My brother in law is not a rider and he looks and acts like an old fart(sorry if I have offended any old farts reading this)And every time he sees me,he asks how do keep looking so young??.I say I ride my bike,for so long that I begin to defy gravity and I am also beginning to time travel back to the past.The trouble is if you travel there too often,you just may not want to come back.Is that a good thing or what? Anyway,I believe that riding has kept from going nutz,I don’t want another women and I am content to play with our 3 grandsons and teach them the ways of the road. Do I hear an Amen out there??

March 13, 2009 at 7:12 am
(38) Rudolph.A.Furtado says:

I have been cycling and later motorcycling since a young age and at present at age 49, a “Young Mobiker” at heart.Reflexes and presence of mind required for riding a motorcycle is much more than for a car,simple reason being “BODY BALANCE”, hence “Mobikers” have a quicker “Reflex Action” compared to most non- motorcyclists. Regarding looking or feeling younger, i personally feel its all in the “Mindset” and personal body care besides being a motorcyclist.Does Hugh Hefner still ride a motorcycle?

March 14, 2009 at 9:10 am
(39) Mara says:

When I ride all my stress melts away. Riding requires full attention and focus. You automatically use parts of your brain not used daily. I am a 51 year old female rider and besides knowing it keeps my brain active, I also know it helps me to keep my body in shape. After having to pick my bike up once on my own, I began a weight and fitness program that assures me the ability to pick that bike up anytime. Plus there is the wind in your hair effect that makes you feel like a kid again. All this together can do nothing less than keep a person young!!!

March 18, 2009 at 10:23 am
(40) Jan says:

Bikes are my link with sanity.. Young.. yes!

March 20, 2009 at 9:06 am
(41) Peter says:

At 67 I’ve been riding for 50 years. Just bought a 2009 Harley XR1200. You wanna feel young try one of these. It’s as fast as my CRR1000, but wow is it fun and you’re not all crunched up. I’m a high stress litigation attorney and there’s no doubt in my mind that bikes keep you young.

March 20, 2009 at 9:10 am
(42) Peter says:

Correction – that’s not as fast as my CBR1000RR – Hey, I’m gettin old.

November 23, 2009 at 10:07 pm
(43) Connie says:

I called it Freedom 55. I just woke up one day and said, today is the day. Went out, bought a bike and took my safety motorcycle course at the college where I live. Love my bike. Gives me peace of mind. I found a new love in my life. Just wish the season was longer. Will never look back on this one.

December 25, 2009 at 11:36 pm
(44) jj says:

VIDEO GAMES keep mind/eye hand coordination just as keen.


April 21, 2010 at 10:47 am
(45) Ralph says:

Last Aug I turned 67, and I spent my Birthday doing Tail of the Dragon In NC, Getting old naw
feel like a kid then and now.

April 23, 2010 at 9:16 am
(46) Jonathan Julian says:

At 65 years of age riding my motorcycle improves ALL of my driving. Awareness on my bike keeps me alive–I don’t ride beyond my abilities. Having gotten through my “speed demon” days and lawyer fees I am free and confident to handle what the road can dish out. Being into a martial art I learned how to fall. This came in handy when I highsided. I had a few scratches, the bike was not so lucky . . . While my reflexes may be a tad slower my road awareness is in high gear which allows that extra moment to react to the insane shinanigans of those cars in motion around me. Riding safe and sane is the responsibility of the rider; to not do so is a courtship with death. That is NOT age related . . .

August 18, 2010 at 6:57 pm
(47) Forrest Horn, Sr. says:

I’m 67. I have incurable cancer and type 2 Diabetes. Yes, riding my 2007 Harley-Davidson Ultra Glide keeps me not only young, but alive! : ))

November 3, 2010 at 10:48 am
(48) Sally Jo says:

That’s a BIG H*LL YEAH!!! 62, female, and rollin strong!!

January 15, 2012 at 8:03 pm
(49) DG says:

I rode bikes at 15, 18 and 56 because I like it. I wear leather protective clothing because I like my skin. I keep to side roads because I like being alive. I like the Harley because it sounds like it’s alive. I don’t care what the youth think or the old. As a kid I just used jeans and work boots and jean jacket. Today it’s Jeans, Harley boots and a Jacket. Yea it seems all I see are old men on Harleys compared to my youth when young guys were riding them. A used Black Evo is good enogh for me.

January 11, 2013 at 2:45 pm
(50) Vincent says:

Hi everyone: I’m 65 this year and thinking very seriously about buying a touring motorcycle – the BMW 1600 gtl. Is this something I can handle now i’m in my mid sixties?

February 13, 2013 at 1:25 pm
(51) Cullen Simpson says:

I believe riding a motorcycle does keep you younger and smarter. while its always benefited me, it has made a big difference in all my friends who have become riders as of late. They don’t seem as dumb as they use to be and from my rear view mirror they look much younger than they used to behind the wheel of their minivan…

February 13, 2013 at 10:27 pm
(52) harold holley says:

i,M 75 YEARS OLD,BEEN RIDEING SINCE MY 1953 125cc harley…Own a 2007 heritage,but its getting to the point i love my little 1200 cc SPORTSTER because of the weight.

December 6, 2013 at 1:17 am
(53) Raj Benedict says:

well said, I am hoping so now that I am on the wrong side of 40!!!!
can ride, will ride, will let you know when I get old . how I feel.
Cheers! Ride safe!

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