Are Electric Bikes Good For Exercise?

Though the sale of traditional cycles has plummeted in recent years, the electric bike market is thriving.

Americans could spend as much as $79.7 billion a year on electric bikes by 2026. In 2021, they spent just about $47 billion.

The e-bike industry is one of only a few markets witnessing growth despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike many other industries, the pandemic only helped to increase e-bike sales during the long lockdown.

Even as lockdown regulations ease, Americans are still wary of using public transportation or carpooling for their daily commutes. That’s where e-bikes come in.

They are a safe, cheap, simple option for modern commuters. These advantages have shaped the e-bike’s COVID success story.

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What is an E-Bike?

An electric bike is a mix between a self-powered bicycle and a motorized scooter. They look very similar to standard bikes, but they come equipped with battery-powered motors.

These motors assist with pedaling, adding a bit more power as you pedal your feet. Riding most e-bikes feels like you’re being pushed from behind by a gentle tailwind.

The motors used in e-bikes amplify your pedal strokes and make it feel like your legs are getting a supercharged boost.

There are three different classes of electric bikes to choose from.

  • Class 1 E-Bikes
    • Only assists while the rider is peddling.
    • Assistance stops when the bike reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour.
  • Class 2 E-Bikes
    • The motor can be used to propel the bike forward without pedaling
    • Assistance stops when the bike reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour.
  • Class 3 E-Bikes
    • Only assists while the rider is pedaling.
    • Assistance stops when the bike reaches a speed of 28 miles per hour.

There are e-bikes available that fit into any budget. You can find them online for as little as $398, or you could cough up $1,699 for a more high-end model.

More expensive e-bikes feature mid-drive motors. They offer a stable center of gravity which makes them easier to shift on hills. Their output varies anywhere from 250-350 watts.

Rear motor e-bikes are generally more affordable.

They boast a motor in the hub of their rear wheel. Rear motors are lightweight and cost much less than their mid-drive counterparts.

The distance an e-bike’s motor will last all depends on how high the watt-hour (Wh) is on your battery. Higher Wh means more power capacity.

Most e-bikes range from 20 to 100 miles on a single charge. The range is so wide because it depends on several different variables like,

  • How much weight you’re carrying
  • Weather, wind, terrain, and temperature
  • Your battery size
  • The level of motor assistance you use
  • How efficient your motor is

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Benefits of Using an E-Bike

It might surprise you to learn that riding e-bikes can be great for your mental, emotional and physical health.

It can potentially give riders a much-needed psychological boost. E-bikers gain more confidence as they conquer hills and obstacles they might avoid on standard bikes.

Regularly riding an e-bike can keep your energy levels high.

This may help you train your mind and body to get more restful, restorative sleep. A regular sleeping pattern will grant you more readiness and alertness throughout your day.

E-bikes provide a valid alternative to automobile transportation for those who can’t afford a car.

They are also a more environmentally friendly transportation option, even better than carpooling and public transport.

They greatly reduce your overall carbon dioxide emissions. A study by the Transportation Research Journal claims that carbon emissions can be reduced by 12 percent if 15 percent of urban transportation miles were made on e-bikes instead.

In the U.S, a mere 0.4% of the rural population and 0.6% of the urban population use bikes to get to work. Reasons to avoid biking included excessive sweating, intense fatigue, and safety concerns.

With electric bikes, riders can reap the benefits of cycling their commute without worrying about those things. E-bikes also cut down on inner-city traffic and urban noise pollution.

For people who aren’t fond of exercise, or who might find cycling intimidating, e-bikes can be more approachable and make the whole process more fun.

These novices could find themselves riding faster and getting more elevation than even seasoned cyclists on traditional bikes.

New riders may feel more motivated and confident when they can keep up with more experienced riders.

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Can you get fit on an electric bike?

To get fit and stay fit, you have to eat healthy food and exercise. Sadly, only 23 percent of American adults are getting the amount of exercise they need.

There are several reasons why Americans don’t get enough exercise. Here are the ones most commonly cited today.

  • Feeling “too old” for regular exercise
  • Giving up due to lack of results
  • Finding exercise boring or unenjoyable
  • Too busy for a regular workout routine

E-bikes offer a recreational way to burn calories that helps riders avoid monotony and boredom. You can use them to commute to and from work even if you have a busy schedule.

The pedal assistance offers older riders, and people with disabilities, a chance to enjoy the benefits of exercise without overextending themselves.

One common misconception about electric bikes is that riding one is somehow considered cheating. Many people incorrectly assume that e-bikes won’t help you get fit.

Riding an electric bike can be a great workout if you’re looking to get in shape.

Most of us know that traditional cycling is one of the best cardio workouts around.

It keeps your bones and muscles strong and improves heart health as well. Cycling helps burn calories, which will help you lose weight.

When using an e-bike, riders only burn 20 percent fewer calories than traditional cyclists. Continued use of an e-bike will still help to burn calories and can result in significant weight loss.

Electric bikes can also strengthen your core muscles due to their weight. As e-bikes are much heavier than standard bikes, they require more balance to ride. Think of it as a little extra weight training between cardio sessions.

You will get the most out of your electric bike workout if you keep your pedal assistance levels set as low as possible.

You want to feel comfortable, but remember that you need to push yourself a little to get results.

If you are still skeptical that an e-bike is a great way to stay in shape, consider a recent study that showed electric bike riders get slightly more total exercise per week compared to standard cyclists.

Using an e-bike helps to improve your cardiorespiratory fitness in the same way as conventional bicycles because it lets you bike faster and tackle higher elevations.

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Tips for Riding an Electric Bike

Once you have decided to give electric biking a try, there are a few things you should keep in mind before spending your hard-earned cash.

Understand Local Regulations

Since they are powered by motors and can reach much higher speeds than traditional bikes, there are different regulations when it comes to different types of e-bikes.

  • Class 1 electric bikes are usually accepted everywhere.
    • You cannot ride class 1 e-bikes on designated bike paths.
    • Some nature trails allow class 1 e-bikes, but this is a rare practice.
  • Class 2 electric bikes are prohibited in many cities.
    • Most nature trails and bike trails will never allow class 2 e-bikes.
  • Class 3 electric bikes are generally allowed on city streets only.
    • Their motors provide enough speed for riders to keep up with vehicle traffic.

Read Are Electric Bikes Safe?

Utilize Low Assist Mode

Riding in low assist mode as much as possible will keep your battery running longer. Low assist mode might also be called “Eco mode” depending on the model.

Less assistance from the motor also means you will get a better workout from your e-bike ride.

Mind the Brakes

Since electric bikes are faster and heavier than standard bicycles, you need to pay close attention. E-bikes come equipped with heavy-duty brake systems, but you still need to be aware and brake early if possible.

are electric bikes good for exercise
are electric bikes good for exercise

The Final Verdict

As you can see, electric bikes are indeed good for exercise.

There are so many benefits that come along with riding an e-bike, including staying fit. Regularly riding an electric bike keeps you motivated, toned, strong, and healthy. They are safe, effective, reliable, and accessible. Most of all they provide a fun way to take care of your mental, emotional, and physical health.

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