Looking to get into shape? Buy a motorcycle.

If you were looking for another good excuse to buy a motorcycle, here’s one you might not have thought about: riding a bike can be great for your physical and mental health (of course, that is, if you don’t crash). The following benefits were not at all obvious to me until I experienced them first hand and thought about the reasons why.

1. You can’t snack while riding a motorcycle
Keeping both hands on the bars pretty much ensures that you won’t be snacking while you ride. And, taking the extra time to put on layered clothing, an armored jacket, boots, helmet and gloves means that…

2. You won’t stop for fast-food on your commute
Although you could stop, you won’t. It’s just too much hassle just for the benefit of a McBreakfast and coffee. You’ll be more inclined to spend that extra time taking the scenic route instead of the freeway, and relegating meals to when you should eat, not because a Pavlovian response attracted you to a favorite fast-food joint.

3. You’ll burn more calories while riding than driving
Being outside in the elements just simply must burn more calories than being laid back while driving a car (especially instead of noshing on a bagel and cream cheese in your SUV). Before you think about garaging your bike in the fall, think how many calories you can burn just by riding to and from work. And with a heated vest and grips, you can extend your riding season well into the winter months or early spring.

4. You’ll strengthen your core and abs
Assuming a riding posture, especially on a sport bike, will give your abdominal muscles a workout. Going through the twisties will work out your whole body, including your inner balance mechanism. Putting miles on the odometer is just like spending hours doing crunches…and a heck of a lot more fun.

5. You’ll also gain mental focus, balance and calm
Mental fitness is another great result of riding. Whether getting away to the mountains for the weekend, or splitting lanes on your commute, riding a motorcycle is such an intense activity that it makes dealing with office politics or squabbling kids a lot easier to deal with.

Need more proof?
The photo on the left was taken six months before I bought a motorcycle. The photo on the right was taken six months after I bought my Kawasaki Concours (a.k.a. “MyConnie”). With a lot of help from a great diet program and about 4,000 miles of insane fun spend on the back of MyConnie, I’ve kept my health focus and gotten a substantial amount of my mojo back. Lesson learned: keep riding for health and happiness. 

Six months before—and after—owning MyConnie

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