In Depth: The Health Benefits of Riding an E-BikeMarch 10, 2023
While you will hear many haters tell you that there are no health benefits to riding an e-bike, that is simply not true. In fact, there are way more than you might think and today we are going in-depth and taking a look at this subject from many angles to try and get to the real truth…
If you join the Tour de France and equip your bicycle with a small electric bicycle, you would be disqualified because of mechanical doping which is considered cheating. For everyone else, however, an electric bicycle (E-bike) could be a good way to get the exercise they need that is both practical and tolerable, based on a motivational study of bicycle commuting. One major benefit of riding an e-bike is surely exercise.
It goes without saying that exercise is really necessary in all our lives and as you get older you start to realise just how true this is. People who are active physically have lower chances, compared to sedentary people to have heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, stroke, disabilities in old age and premature death. e-cycling reduces stress, boosts your immunity, reduces the risk of heart disease, lifts your mood, makes you look and feel 10 years younger and helps you lose weight and get fit.
Compared to a traditional bicycle, you don’t sweat as much because you have the option of turning on the motor. An experiment published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology by researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder, showed what would happen if they gave a group of out-of-shape men and women e-bikes and suggested that they begin riding them to work. It is important to note that the researchers only studied motorized bikes that assist the rider instead of doing all the work for them like a moped. Because that is what an e-bike does, they require the rider to pedal in order to get assistance from the motor!
What the researchers wanted to know was whether those e-bikes were indeed capable of giving meaningful exercise to people who had not been exercising much previously. They also wanted to determine whether the e-bikes were fundamentally safe to use, given that they let even novice riders reach speeds of up to 15 miles per hour or higher with pedalling. The Boulder city government funded the study partially as part of the assessment of whether to allow electric bicycles on municipal bike paths. Extra funding came from local bicycle shops and Skratch Labs, a sports nutrition company in Boulder.
The researchers first brought the 20 sedentary volunteers into the lab to check their body composition, aerobic fitness, blood pressure, blood sugar control and cholesterol profiles. They then provided every single one of them with an e-bike, GPS device, heart rate monitor and asked every volunteer to don the monitors and ride his or her new e-bike to and from work at least 3 times a week for the next month, spending at least around 30 minutes in the saddle during those days. The volunteers were directed to choose whatever speed and effort was comfortable for them. Then the researchers made the novice riders go into Boulder’s roads and bike paths.
A month later, the volunteers returned to the lab to repeat the original tests and turn over heart rate as well as GPS data. Everyone had ridden at least the recommended minimum of 30 minutes three times every week and in fact, based on their monitor data, most had ridden more than required, in fact, it was 50% more! The riders also rode with some intensity. Their heart rates had an average of 75% of every person’s maximum, which means that, despite the motor assist, they had been getting a decent amount of workout, which can be compared to jogging or brisk walking. What is most important perhaps is that the riders were fitter and healthier now, with a huge change in aerobic fitness, better blood sugar control and a trend toward less body fat. They also told the researchers that exercising with an e-bike was more fun than any other kind of exercise they had tried before.
The results of this test do mirror my own health benefits. From that first ride on an e-bike I wanted to do more, go further and climb steeper hills to the point that the other day I rode over 1,000ft up a mountain road! For me personally, this was a MASSIVE achievement and I could only do it thanks to my e-bike. Sure, it assisted me, but I did all the pedalling and I was physically exhausted when I got to the top, but I still made it! E-biking won’t burn as many calories as normal cycling, but it will encourage you to do so much more than you might think and you will definitely get a lot of good exercises. If it wasn’t for my own love of food I guarantee that I would have lost weight the amount of e-bike I do, all it takes is a little more self-control and I could easily see myself getting quite fit and losing a lot of weight and I wouldn’t want to do it any other way than e-biking.
Do you think e-biking has health benefits? What have you realised while out riding your e-bikeS? Do let us know in the comments below.