Bicycles

Study claims e-bikes get you just as fit as non-electrics

Study claims e-bikes get you j...
The study involved 32 test overweight subjects in Basel, Switzerland
The study involved 32 test overweight subjects in Basel, Switzerland
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The study involved 32 test overweight subjects in Basel, Switzerland
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The study involved 32 test overweight subjects in Basel, Switzerland

Two years ago, we heard about a study which indicated that even though e-bikes require less rider effort to travel at a given speed, they're still a decent source of exercise. Now, a new study suggests that they're just as good as regular bikes at improving fitness – at least when it comes to overweight riders.

Conducted by scientists at Switzerland's University of Basel, the study involved 32 test subjects. Twenty-eight of them were men, and all were considered to be overweight, having a body mass index between 28 and 29. At the outset of the study, each person's cardiorespiratory fitness was determined via oxygen uptake capacity (VO2) testing, which measures the body's ability to take in and utilize oxygen.

Seventeen of the participants were then supplied with an e-bike, with the other 15 receiving a regular non-electric bike. All of them were instructed to ride a minimum of 6 km (3.7 miles) at least three days per week for a four-week period. Some riders were equipped with GPS devices, and all of them cycled at a speed of their choice.

When the four weeks were up, new VO2 tests indicated the fitness levels of both groups had improved significantly, and by similar amounts. Riders in the e-bike group, however, maintained a higher average speed, and rode up steeper gradients on a daily basis.

"This indicates that the e-bike can increase motivation and help overweight and older individuals to maintain fitness training on a regular basis," says U Basel's Prof. Arno Schmidt-Trucksäss. "Those who use e-bikes on a regular basis benefit permanently, not only in terms of their fitness, but also in terms of other factors such as blood pressure, fat metabolism, and their mental well-being."

A paper on the research was recently published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.

Source: University of Basel

4 comments
robert58
I am 70 years old with some health issues. If it wasn't for my ebike I would not be on a bike at all. I am able to get out and do some pedaling on it.
shopoutlet
I use the minimum amount of assist on my bike and go much further than I use to on a conventional bike. some times go to the Store and get groceries. I'm in the country its about a 28 mile round trip. At times I turn the assist off on flats to get more exercise and range. I get lots of exercise. Go out more often and go much farther.
Daishi
Ebikes still require effort you just get more speed/distance for similar amounts of effort. Something else not entirely obvious is that with a bit more wind you are a bit less sweaty and that allows you to both ride in hotter weather you'd normally reach for an automobile in and push yourself a bit harder because the breeze helps cool you. Lots of people cannot bike to work because they would arrive a sweaty mess or the distance is slightly outside of what is practical for busy people. A prius is 40 MPG, an electric car is 100 MPGe, and an ebike is 1,000 MPGe.
Trylon
It makes sense. People who aren't fitness junkies prefer to avoid things like hills and riding longer distances. Give them a little help and they like the feeling of freedom and speed as much as anybody else. E-bikes are the future, even if the diehard "athletes" turn their noses up at e-bikers.