March 4, 2009

Riding Motorcycles Can Keep You Young

The scientist behind the popular "Brain Training" computer software said on Wednesday that a new study suggests riding motorcycles may help keep drivers young by invigorating their brains, the AFP reported.

Ryuta Kawashima and his research team at Yamaha Motor conducted a string of experiments involving middle-aged men and discovered that riding motorbikes activates the driver's brain, in part because it requires heightened alertness.

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

He said that the human mind and body gets used to setting the hurdle low when in a convenient and easy environment.

"Our final conclusion is that riding motorcycles can lead to smart aging," he added.

Kawashima, the 49 year-old self-professed motorcycle fan, cited a new study conducted jointly by Yamaha and Tohoku University that explores the brain stimulation reported in motorcycle riders.

One of the studies observed 22 men in their 40s and 50s, who held motorcycle licenses but had not taken a ride for at least a decade.

After randomly being split into two groups, one group was asked to resume riding a motorcycle in their everyday life for two months, while the other kept using bicycles or cars.

Kawashima said the group that rode motorbikes posted higher marks in cognitive function tests.

Another test involved in the study required the men to remember a set of numbers in reverse order. Those who were active riders showed more than 50 percent score increases within two months, while the non-riders' marks deteriorated slightly.

Motorcycle riders also reported making fewer mistakes at work and an overall happier feeling.

Kawashima stated that mental care is a very big issue in modern society.

"I think we made an interesting stir here as data showed you can improve your mental condition simply by using motorbikes to commute."


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