E-bikes won’t help you meet your exercise goals, study claims

Research shows that pedaling power trumps getting off on an e-bike when it comes to hitting your health goals.

Users of e-bikes, with built-in motors, are less likely to get the recommended amount of exercise, compared to those who ride conventional models.

Scientists claim that this is because e-bikes riders make fewer and less physically demanding trips than traditional cyclists.

But they added that e-bikes, which can cost upwards of £1,000 ($1,105), may still serve a purpose.

German experts said the devices could encourage people who might not bother to ride a bike, such as the elderly or obese, to ride.

As a result, it can have health benefits for them.

A German study found that people who rely on pedaling power are 50 percent more likely to do the recommended exercise than cyclists who use modern electric bikes.

A German study found that people who rely on pedaling power are 50 percent more likely to do the recommended exercise than cyclists who use modern electric bikes.

This graph shows how traditional cyclists had an average riding time greater than e-cyclists

This graph shows how traditional cyclists spent more time riding moderate to vigorous level bikes than e-bike riders.

The pedaling cyclists also had a greater average total time on the bike than those who completed cycling with an electric motor.

The pedaling cyclists also had a greater average total time on the bike than those who completed cycling with an electric motor.

E-bikes have an electric motor that acts on the rider’s pedals, making them less physically demanding to use. It also makes it easy to travel over hills.

Researchers from Hannover Medical School compared the fitness and riding habits of 1,250 e-bike riders and 629 conventional cyclists.

How much exercise do you need

To stay healthy, adults between the ages of 19 and 64 should try to be active daily and should do the following:

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as biking or brisk walking each week and
  • Strength training two or more days a week working all major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, arms)

or:

  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running or an individual tennis match each week and
  • Strength training two or more days a week working all major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, arms)

or:

  • A combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity each week – eg, 2 x 30 minutes of running plus 30 minutes of brisk walking equals 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and
  • Strength training two or more days a week working all major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, arms)

A good rule of thumb is that one minute of vigorous activity provides the same health benefits as two minutes of moderate activity.

One way to do the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week is to do 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days each week.

All adults should also break up long periods of sitting with light activity.

source: NHS

E-drivers tend to be older, weigh more and have more health issues, which can skew results a bit.

The experts then looked at whether each group of participants had achieved the World Health Organization (WHO) exercise goal of 150 minutes/week of moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Participants were equipped with activity trackers to assess time, distance, and heart rate while cycling over four consecutive weeks.

The results are published in BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicineshowed that only 22 percent of e-bike riders met the WHO target.

For comparison, the rate was 35 percent among traditional cyclists.

This means that e-bike riders are half as likely to hit the target as their pedaling counterparts.

In terms of overall averages, e-cyclists were found to do only about 90 minutes of moderate to vigorous cycling per week, about 70 minutes less than conventional cyclists.

People who use traditional bikes also tend to take more bike trips.

The average heart rates of the traditional cyclists were also higher, indicating a greater level of exertion: 119 beats per minute versus 111 beats per minute.

In a separate part of the study, researchers also found that e-bike riders were 63 percent more likely to have a traffic accident over a 12-month period than traditional cyclists.

In all, 109 incidents and 157 nearby incidents were recorded.

The authors suggested that e-bikes capable of higher speeds may be a reason for this trend.

Concluding their study, the researchers said the findings have implications for public health initiatives that help people buy e-bikes.

“The expected health effects may be higher for bicycle users, which is an important factor for policy makers in discussing statewide e-bike support,” they said.

But they added that the e-bike still had benefits, especially for those who might give up cycling altogether.

“The growing allure and popularity of e-bikes may facilitate recreational cycling and active commuting, particularly for those with age or disease-related restrictions who would not choose to use the bike otherwise,” they said.

The cycling heart rate was also higher in the cycling group, indicating that these riders were putting in more effort than their e-cycling counterparts.

The cycling heart rate was also higher in the cycling group, indicating that these riders were putting in more effort than their e-cycling counterparts.

More than 42 million adults in the UK will be overweight or obese by 2040, according to new projections from Cancer Research UK.

More than 42 million adults in the UK will be overweight or obese by 2040, according to Cancer Research UK projections.

E-bikes are growing in popularity in the EU, with 3.4 million bikes sold across the EU in 2019, compared to just 98,000 in 2006.

Industry analysis by Mintel estimated that 170,000 electric bikes were sold in the UK in 2020,

The NPD estimated the number of e-bikes sold in the United States at 368,000 in 2021.

The German findings follow other research earlier this year that found that only one in 20 adults in England gets the recommended amount of exercise.

University of Essex experts came to this conclusion after studying the exercise habits of a quarter of a million people in England.

Like the World Health Organization, the NHS advises people to get two and a half hours of moderate-intensity physical exercise per week, such as brisk walking, cycling and pushing a lawn mower.

Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities, such as carrying heavy shopping bags, lifting weights, and heavy gardening, at least two days a week.

But the Essex study found that only five per cent of “amazingly small” people in England reached these lower thresholds.

Regular exercise combined with a balanced diet is the best way to tackle obesity, one of Britain’s biggest health problems.

The latest data shows that 64 percent of adults are overweight, and many of us are expected to gain weight in the future.

Obesity is not only expanding Britain’s waistline, but increasing healthcare costs, with the NHS spending an estimated £6.1 billion treating weight-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers between 2014 and 2015 .

An estimated 73.6% of adults in the United States are overweight or obese.

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