Muni helps age-related brain power?

I posted this a couple of months ago on Facebook Redirecting... suggesting that riding muni is good for your brain, especially for aging riders (and we all are). We could all use that, and have safety gear for the corporal punishment from UPDs haha

From the Facebook post so the text can be referred to and quoted without leaving this page.

It is well documented that hiking or walking on trails with uneven surfaces is more beneficial for the retention of balance and cognitive abilities for older people than walking on flat surfaces, as it engages more areas of the brain and associated muscular-skeletal motor function.

Since studies on unicycling (ie: ) show definite neurological benefits from riding a unicycle, my experience leads me to believe that off-road unicycling (muni) could be even more beneficial for the aging brain than flatland unicycling or hiking.

Requiring constant mental and physical recalibration of the relationship between the body, the unicycle, complex terrain and obstacles (rocks and roots, etc.), each ride (even if repeated on the same trail) presents a new set of challenges with each change of trajectory, lighting conditions, season, and/or the weather - all at riding speed.

Muni isn’t a mainstream sport, especially in my age cohort (67), so there isn’t a large enough demographic to study it’s benefits on neurological (and physical) health in ageing. I don’t expect any studies to be done anytime soon, but I believe I’m onto something here, and will definitely keep trail riding as long as I can.

Because I average at least one good face-plant every couple of outings (see photo), I’d also like to give a big shout out to everyone who went before me to develop the sport, which has given me the benefits of access to an excellent uni (KH24), and great safety gear (KH Percussion leg armour; Hillbilly gloves (full finger); 5/10 Stealth boots; bike helmet). Thanks to one and all!


Being born in 1948 and an avid supporter of Muni I agree with what you say.
Muni has been great for my mind (“Zen” effect, less stress) and my heart (very low rythm) the only negative point is that I tend to have worse UPD (happily the ICU nearby is well staffed :grin: - and free :wink: !- )


Dang! I desperately need to get me a Muni!

I am lost on the term UDP. :confused:

It is an acronym for UnPlanned Dismount.

Like with riding, you will get used to the forum lingo :wink:

1 Like

WOW! Google was way off. However, I was pretty sure it wasn’t University Police Department.

1 Like

Well, the referenced study shows that learning a motoric skill (unicycling), will make the area in the brain that deals with motoric skills adapt…
There is no transfer to anything else shown, so I honestly think this study is misinterpreted a lot. It does not show that learning unicycling will help with anything other than unicycling itself.

The assumption of:" positive effect + positive effect = more positive effect " unfortunately doesn’t always hold when you are dealing with humans anyway.

I’m convinced that getting outside, moving and doing something you like will have a positive effect on your health, but I wouldn’t really count on any comparison between different activities.

1 Like

I did a careful study with a group of unicyclists when I lived in Seattle. I used a special jello mould to make a cherry-flavored brain. Three of the unicyclists were randomly assigned to the “eat-brain” condition, while the other three were left brainless. Then we rode a tough mountain route. Results: Having more brains doesn’t help (or hurt) unicycle riding. None of my subjects were especially surprised.
David Maxfield