With the growing number of electric bikes on the road today, many people wonder if it has any health benefits considering that they now come with a motor and other tech. Traditional bikes are known to deliver many health benefits as riding requires physical exertion that is beneficial to cardiovascular health. But how about e-bikes—do they have any health benefits?
In this post, we will dig deeper into the health benefits of electric bikes, which will give you more reasons to finally make that purchase.
1. Electric Bikes Can Improve Heart Health
Some e-bike riders are still determining the health benefits of e-biking, specifically that it helps improve heart health.
A 2017 study has shown that bicycling to work lowers the risk of premature death. The study took five years and involved 264,337. Cycling about 30 miles a week can help lower the risk of heart disease. (The BMJ, 2017)
Therefore, riding an electric bike or achieving at least 30 miles per week is similar to commuting via bicycle and may boost heart health.
Another study was conducted in 2018 in which Swiss researchers recruited 32 sedentary and untrained volunteers to start commuting to work by bike. Half of the group used electric bikes, while the other half rode conventional bikes. Both groups were required to ride at least six kilometers a day, at least three days a week, for four weeks. (NCBI, 2018)
By the end of the four weeks, riders on electric bicycles showed improvement in the amount of oxygen their bodies can use during exertion, a bit more than those who used conventional bikes. Additionally, both groups showed improvements in heart function.
The e-bike riders, despite the assistance they get from their electric bikes, used them to go faster and have more elevation every day compared to the other group on conventional bikes.
Also, studies have shown that the hearts of e-bike riders may work at over 90 per cent the level of riders of non-assisted bikes, but riders may perceive less effort. In addition, Brigham Young University conducted a study that monitored the heart rates of mountain bikers riding e-bikes and non e-bikes. (JMIR, 2019)
The results showed that individuals on e-MTBs reached 94 per cent of the average heart rate they did when riding a traditional mountain bike.
2. Improve Fitness with Electric Bike Training
Contrary to what most believe about electric bikes versus conventional bikes, e bikes can help improve fitness. How?
The effort necessary to keep the e-bike moving is less than a conventional bike, but you will still need to pedal and put in a significant amount of energy to move.
In fact, riding an electric bike has been found to bring most of the benefits of commuting through its activation of the cardiovascular system. (JMIR Publications, 2019)
The National Hill Climb Champion Tom Bell hit 198 bpm, close to his maximum heart rate of 208 bpm whilst riding on an eMTB on an off-road test loop. (BikeRadar, 2019)
3. Boost Brain Health
There is a growing trend in the improvement of mental health for e-bike riders, simply because electric bikes are found to be easier and more enjoyable to ride compared to traditional bikes. In turn, they help boost mental health. (The Conversation, 2019)
In addition, e-bike cyclists were found to spend more time cycling each week on average, and some felt that they could go even further when on their electric bike because it is equipped with a motor.
A clinical study done in the UK also showed that older adults who ride electric bikes have better brain function and a better sense of well-being. (Plos One, 2019)
The results of the study showed that e-bike riders demonstrated advanced processing speed with a heightened sense of confidence.
4. Stimulates the Muscles
Every pedal on the electric bike stimulates the muscles, such as the hamstrings and quads, which are major muscle groups. In addition, electric bikes are a bit heavier than conventional bikes, which means you get to shed some pounds and tone those muscles while you’re at it. Electric bike cycling can exercise your biceps, triceps, glutes, and abs.
Clearly, when you’re riding your electric bike, your leg muscles are the ones that work the hardest, despite the pedal assist. With this, the e-bike only provides power when you are pedaling.
Moreover, your glutes are also engaged when you’re riding your e-bike, including the gluteus minimus, medius, and maximus.
To work on those muscles when you’re on your e-bike, create full circular motions when you pedal. Doing so will ensure your quads are getting that much-needed workout and all your other muscles are engaged. When starting out, it’s okay to use assist; then, over time, you can use it less.
Also, you can increase the resistance by lowering the pedal assist. You can also change your terrain, which will make your muscles work harder. Try going up on hills to ensure that your legs keep working hard.
On the other hand, if you want to work on that core and upper body, you can go for routes with many twists and turns, as they will force these parts of the body to work harder to keep you balanced on your electric bike.
5. Lower Stress Levels
Unbeknownst to some, riding an electric bike is a great form of stress relief simply because it’s a physical activity. Any moderate physical activity releases endorphins into the body and this occurs when your heart rate increases.
At the same time, you get to be outdoors. There have been numerous studies that show spending time outdoors has a significant effect on a human’s ability to cope with stress. And the good thing? You don’t need to spend hours cycling! A good ten to 30 minutes will certainly do wonders to your stress levels. (ScienceDaily, 2020)
6. Helps with Weight Loss with Electric Bike Exercise
As mentioned, electric bikes still encourage you to pedal, which means that you will burn calories and fat. It was proven that riding an e-bike with pedal-assist mode engaged can help riders burn 444 calories per hour versus pedaling a conventional bike that can burn 552 calories per hour. (Average Joe Cyclist, 2022)
Additionally, e-bikes allow riders to pedal as hard as they way, which makes for an effective workout while providing safety to help newbies cycle more safely.
To sum it all up, riding an electric bike can deliver excellent physical and mental health benefits. In fact, it gives people of all ages a chance to hop on a bike and enjoy this physical activity and the great outdoors. With its motor and other integrated technologies, riding an e-bike sure does give an enjoyable and beneficial ride to almost anybody!
- Hall, Cougar, Taylor H Hoj, Clark Julian, Geoff Wright, Robert A Chaney, Benjamin Crookston, and Joshua West. 2019. “Pedal-Assist Mountain Bikes: A Pilot Study Comparison of the Exercise Response, Perceptions, and Beliefs of Experienced Mountain Bikers.” JMIR Formative Research 3 (3): e13643. https://doi.org/10.2196/13643.
- Celis-Morales, Carlos A, Donald M Lyall, Paul Welsh, Jana Anderson, Lewis Steell, Yibing Guo, Reno Maldonado, et al. 2017. “Association between Active Commuting and Incident Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, and Mortality: Prospective Cohort Study.” BMJ, April, j1456. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j1456.
- Höchsmann, Christoph, Steffen Meister, Damiana Gehrig, Elisa Gordon, Yanlei Li, Monique Nussbaumer, Anja Rossmeissl, Juliane Schäfer, Henner Hanssen, and Arno Schmidt-Trucksäss. 2018. “Effect of E-Bike versus Bike Commuting on Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Overweight Adults.” Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine 28 (3): 255–65. https://doi.org/10.1097/jsm.0000000000000438.
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- Spencer, Ben, et al. “Electric Bikes Can Boost Older People’s Mental Performance and Their Well-Being.” The Conversation, 19 Apr. 2019, theconversation.com/electric-bikes-can-boost-older-peoples-mental-performance-and-their-well-being-112264#:~:text=Mental%20boost. Accessed 11 Jan. 2023.
- Leyland, Louise-Ann, et al. “The Effect of Cycling on Cognitive Function and Well-Being in Older Adults.” PLOS ONE, vol. 14, no. 2, 20 Feb. 2019, p. e0211779, 10.1371/journal.pone.0211779.aa
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- “How Many Calories Can You Burn on an Electric Bike?” Electric Bikes Blog, 15 Mar. 2022, electricbikeblog.com/many-calories-can-burn-electric-bike/. Accessed 12 Jan. 2023.