Abarth says trackdays make you happier than gym

Does your partner think track days are pointless? Well, tell them to think again…

By John Howell / Tuesday, 9 August 2022 / Loading comments

This story might have the faint whiff of a slow news day about it (it’s a slow news day, in case you were wondering) but it’s also quite a nice, feel-good story worth sharing. Especially if you enjoy a track day or two but are finding the cost hard to justify at the moment. Or perhaps you haven’t yet had the pleasure of a day at Oulton Park or Snetterton, or any number of circuits that will let you hoon around for a few hours for a fee, and need something to give you that final push. 

Well, track days, apparently, are good for your mental well-being. It gets better, too. They’re more of a boost than hitting the gym, so you can cancel that sadomasochistic subscription as well. Actually, don’t do that. Exercise is good, too. And it’ll keep you so physically fit you’ll be able to circulate on the door handles for even longer, by which time you be so happy you might actually burst.

Anyway, this isn’t me (an idiot) pontificating on health matters. This is intelligent people. People from Loughborough University, which is one of the leading Sports Science universities in the world (according to Loughborough University). And Abarth. Which, err, make fast Fiats. The nub of the story is, and I quote, ‘driving a car around a racetrack significantly boosts a person’s mood compared to a gym workout.’ How great is that?

They came to this fabulous conclusion ‘after exploring the differing emotional responses between a gym workout and driving around a racetrack.’ This important research was carried out at Mallory Park, with the participants driving, and being driven in, various Abarths. And what they actually found was that, on average, people were 59 per cent happier when driving an Abarth around a track compared with people taking part in a session at the gym. It doesn’t say whether an Abarth is imperative to this positive outcome, though. So I’ve done some quick sums on the back of a fag packet and it turns out that the square root of GT3 also equals much happiness. 

The type of exercise makes a difference to the disparity between this gym and track happiness rating. If you regularly do cardio workouts, for example, then you will be much better off running around in a car than on a treadmill. To put a figure on it, the research found you’ll be precisely 116 per cent happier pushing the limits in a car. That’s a big uplift. However, if you prefer to do weights, then your mood will still be better after a stint behind the wheel, but only by four per cent.

Right then, let’s apply some PH logic to this – although keep in mind that this didn’t come from Loughborough University. It is therefore as scientific as watching an episode of Love Island and should be ignored, but… Is true happiness actually a track day without a trolley jack? Seriously, think about it. If weight lifting is also mood enhancing, combine it into your day – by lifting up the car to change a tyre using nothing but brute force. This could be the route to a completely pollyannaish life. True, it could also be the route to becoming a human Whac-A-Mole. You may end up with many hernias popping out of your ripped (as in, literally) torso, but let’s not dwell on the negatives for now.

Precision driving is good, too. You’ll be 20 per cent happier if the track requires precision driving compared with a gym workout consisting of a cardio and weights session, and 63 per cent happier compared with just a cardio session. Which explains why F1 drivers love Monaco so much. There you were thinking it was just the beautiful people, the parties and the glamour, but no: happiness is enhanced by perfect car placement.  

The study also found this track day happiness can be shared. Take your partner along and he or she will be 77 per cent more joyful just from sitting in the passenger seat. Even by not driving they’ll be better off than flapping about on a cross trainer. It’s a revelation. To be fair, that part of the research involved people being driven by a professional driver. You don’t have to be Einstein to work out that, were you to put the car on its roof in a gravel trap, the happiness score could slide.

Dr Dale Esliger at Loughborough University, who led the experiment, says: “It is widely reported about how important physical activity is, not only for a person’s physical wellbeing but also their emotional state. However, we know much less about how driving – specifically on a racetrack – can impact an individual’s mood. The preliminary data indicates that while both the track and gym activity had positive emotional benefits, in this case, the thrill of the track driving element undoubtedly came out on top in boosting the mood of the attendees.”

So there you go. Buddha was wrong. Enlightenment isn’t about giving away all material possessions and sitting under a tree. It’s about buying an Abarth, or an MX-5 or whatever takes your fancy, and sitting under a metal roof. In a bucket seat. Indeed, the Buddha once said, “Don’t run after pleasure and neglect the practice of meditation.” But it turns out that if you drive flat out then pleasure will run to you. After which you can always meditate, just to be sure. 

Latest General News articles

Abarth says trackdays make you happier than gym

Techart announces new parts for 992 GT3

Manhart MH3 GTR takes BMW M3 to 650hp

MG B Roadster Limited Edition | Spotted

Ex-Jay Kay Aston Martin V8 Vantage X-Pack for sale

Source: Read Full Article