Are Electric Bikes Good For Exercise?

are electric bikes good for exercise

Cycling has been an extremely popular method of exercise for decades. In fact, Livestrong estimates that around 42% of all households in the world own a bicycle. They’re so good for exercise that most gyms have exercise bikes, built solely to emulate the workout you’d get from cycling. With the advent of ebikes, many are wondering whether electric bikes are as good for exercise as normal bikes.

Ebikes Can Be Better For Exercise Than Traditional Bicycles

Most people assume ebikes won’t be as good for exercise, primarily because they’re easier to ride due to the electrical assistance the lithium-ion (or nickel) battery on the bike provides. However, for some, this makes exercise a lot more accessible.

Perhaps peddling on a normal bike is a little too tough, meaning you can’t exercise at all. If this is the case, cycling on an electric bike can give you the extra power you need to get some exercise. They also allow you to modify the power going to the bike, meaning you can easily adjust your “workout” on the fly. Does your route take you up a hill but you’re running out of energy? Turn the assist power up a bit and you’ll be able to carry on. 

There is even research supporting the notion that using an ebike instead of a normal bike is better for you exercise-wise. The large form study which covered seven European countries along with 10,000 cyclists was published in the Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives journal. The findings are quite interesting and sought to seek answers to energy usage while utilising different forms of transportation, including electric bikes. 

Over the course of the study, researchers concluded electric bike riders expended more energy than the usual pedal bike. The primary reason why is because ebike riders spend more time actually riding than those who ride pedal cycles. 

In short, it’s a brilliant reason to take up electric biking as a more sustainable form of transport going forward, the authors of the study stated: 

In conclusion, this analysis supports the notion to accept, or even promote, e-bikes as a healthy and sustainable transport option based on e-bikers travel behavior and self-reported mode substitution. Planers should be aware that e-bikers travel longer distances than cyclists. Thus, e-bikes might be used for longer commuting trips than non-electric bicycles. To accommodate (or promote) this new demand and to avoid conflicts with other road users in urban areas, cycling infrastructure should be expanded and may need to be adapted to accommodate higher speeds and address safety needs. The health benefits in terms of physical activity of using e-bikes, particularly when replacing car trips, should be factored in when considering subsidizing e-biking.”

Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives (ISSN: 2590-1982)

The Journal can be viewed here if you wanted to follow up: Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives

In short, although many would and could still argue that pedal cycling is better for you, there is evidence to suggest electric bikes provide a more rounded exercise experience that can be more accessible depending on personal need.

electric bike exercise
Electric bikes are soon to find their way into competitive competition

How Good Is Cycling For Exercise In General?

In general, it’s brilliant. Great for cardiovascular exercise as well as training your legs. Especially if you’re going at pace and ensuring there are moderate to steep hill climbs in your route. It’s an aerobic activity in the main, meaning your heart, lungs, and blood vessels all get a solid workout. Most cyclists burn between 400 to 1000 calories an hour, depending on intensity. So as long as you’re doing it out of enjoyment, you’re going to burn calories. If you’re doing it for sheer exercise, you’ll burn even more.

Cycling, whether on an electric bike or a normal bike is a non-impact exercise. Take jogging for example, the impact is in you repeatedly hitting the floor, with the jolt running up through your body. When you cycle there’s no impact, it’s just the smooth cyclical motion that takes effort to keep going, meaning no nasty impacts on your bones or knees. It’s a great workout for those who have knee injuries, or those who can’t stand impact routines. For those who are even worse affected, electric bikes provide the all-important boost to help you hit your workout goals. 

In short, cycling can help you lose weight, give your body an all-encompassing, dynamic aerobic workout while building leg muscle.

Electric Mountain Bike Or Electric Road Bike For Exercise

It can be hard to choose between the two sometimes. Essentially, you need to consider what you’re buying the bike for. If you’re buying it for exercise, a road bike will do better. If you’re buying for fun and exploration, a mountain bike would suit you more.

Remember, you can ride a mountain bike on the road, but you can’t ride a road bike off-road. They’re just not built for it.

If you’re buying to really pull the miles in and expend energy, then there’s nothing like a road bike. You can of course get good exercise in mountain biking, especially if you’re going up the mountain more than coming back down. 

With electric bikes, you can moderate the effort you put in which can make it easier to use a mountain bike on the road. With that said, try to pick the right bike for what you’ll be using it for, just as if you were picking a normal bike. 

Cycling Exercises The Mind As Well As The Body

A large-scale study by the YMCA found those who exercise and have a more active lifestyle had a wellbeing score 32% higher than those who are inactive.

Electric bikes offer a wider entry point to those seeking cycling as exercise because the pedal assist makes it easier, meaning people who wouldn’t be able to cycle normally can now have a chance. They make exercise better for the mind because if it gets too much going up a hill or you feel the burn a little too much, you can just throttle the assist for a moment of rest. It widens the scope of exercise and even allows you to go on for a little longer.

Cycling boosts your mood. There’s no doubt about it. For a start, it gets you out of the house. It ensures you see new places, whether they’re places which offer breathtaking views or just something different to see than the same four walls. 

If you cycle with others, you’ll make more friends and take enjoyment from social interaction which has wide-ranging mental benefits. 

While getting exercise on the bike your body will be producing the usual endorphins and adrenaline which has been proven to boost your mood. There’s a reason doctors prescribe exercise as a way to combat low mood and the first onset of depression.  

To conclude, electric bikes can take cycling to the next level, provide a wider access route for those who might not be able to cycle traditionally and allow for a more dynamic and varied workout. The blog is full of other electric bike information which should give you all the information you need to start your ebike journey. 

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