Electric bikes have several advantages, including the ability to ride longer and faster, providing a green option for commuting, and encouraging more people to discover the joy of cycling. Can you get fit on an ebike, though, with a motor and batteries giving support while you pedal?
Many parts of cycling appear to be centered on performance advantages. Therefore electric bikes are frequently received with skepticism for offering a helping hand on hills or a sweat-free ride to work. On the other hand, riding an electric bike can increase your fitness.
If you want to get in shape, why not just buy a non-electric bike and start pedaling? That would be simple in many cases, but many people buy an e-bike because it meets their needs in other ways – it allows them to get to work in a reasonable amount of time, for example, or it allows them to cover more ground than would otherwise be possible – and they also want to use it to get in shape.
There are also different levels of electric assistance with an e-bike to help you out when the road ramps. Knowing it's there for when you need it, and using it at specific points in your rides, can help you make fitness gains at other times.
An e-bike can be used with a heart rate monitor to see what you're putting in and a power meter to see what you're getting out. When riding an e-bike, you can still track how hard you push and how much fitness progress you're making.
Here are some ways an e-bike can be used for fitness gains and why many people should ride one to get stronger and faster while having a great time with friends in new places.
An ebike reduces the peak exertion of your ride, allowing you to travel further. If you're new to cycling or aren't as fit as you'd like, start with shorter rides on accessible routes to get a sense of what you're capable of before getting too ambitious.
More frequent, shorter rides will provide more fitness benefits than the occasional epic ride. You'll also want to understand the range of your ebike before embarking on a ride that could drain the battery.
Map out your route
If you're new to cycling, start with routes that aren't too strenuous. Climbs can still be challenging, even with a motor.
Begin on less rugged roads or trails until you get a sense of your physical capacity and the various levels of assistance the bike can provide to support your ride.
Select a lower level of assistance.
Once you're comfortable with your fitness and the bike, lowering the motor's assistance level will give you a better workout.
On a flat road or a moderate hill, you may get by with minimal assistance or without using the motor at all. Save the highest level of support for the most challenging uphills, and you'll also increase your range.
Make a recovery plan
Recovering from your ebike rides is just as important as it would be if you were riding a traditional pedal-powered bike. A challenging ride on an ebike may be just as tiring, especially if your electric bike allows you to ride for longer than usual.
However, because ebikes reduce overall effort, you should be able to ride more frequently, and riding more regularly will help improve your long-term fitness.
Benefits of Using an Ebike
An e-bike allows for new and longer rides.
Because hills don't zap your legs as quickly on the way, e-bikes can open up a new area to explore on rides.
It's not just the intensity of your rides that allows you to get fitter; increasing the duration of your rides can result in significant aerobic benefits.
Getting fit is more enjoyable when exploring new places while increasing your endurance — riding to new places can be motivating. You can try out a new café or arrive fresher at the bottom of a famous climb where you intend to turn off your assist.
You are getting cardiovascular exercise.
Whether you use pedal-assist or not, you're still getting your heart rate up. Because your legs are moving, your circulation improves. To reap the full benefits, you'll need to turn off the pedal-assist now and then, but any movement is better than none.
With electric bikes, you can probably go further than you would normally. You do all of the work on a standard bicycle. So, if you pedal for a mile, you must pedal back. This may prompt you to travel shorter distances.
However, with an electric bicycle, this is not an issue. You can ride as far as you want in comfort. If you get tired near the end, you can let the bike take over.
E-bikes allow you to return to riding after an injury or illness gradually.
Suppose you're returning to riding after a break, especially if you've been injured or ill. An e-bike can help you ease back into it. You can reduce the intensity where the terrain would typically not allow you to.
Indoor riding on turbo trainers can help you moderate your effort. However, it's not the same as being able to go outside into the fresh air and beautiful countryside.
More riding companions equals more fun.
You'll rarely be at the same fitness level as your friend or partner, but if one of you has an e-bike, you might be able to ride together. Having a friend to ride with can help you improve your fitness because you'll be more likely to ride farther and more frequently.
In addition to enjoying the ride with a friend, committing with someone specific (rather than a group ride where your absence is less noticeable) can ensure you go on the ride. Riding your bike is the most effective way to improve your fitness level, so anything that aids in that endeavor is welcome.
Making the most of your commute
Going to and from work can take up a significant portion of your day, so taking advantage of this time can be an efficient way of getting in some consistent miles to build your fitness.
With an e-bike, you could also choose to work on hillier but more scenic roads. If it's a pleasant route, you're more likely to continue commuting by bike regularly because you enjoy it (as well as being time-efficient and cost-effective too, of course).
Suppose you're in the habit of commuting. In that case, you're less likely to cut back during a busy period than a standalone ride planned for the evening. A commute allows you to get your exercise first thing in the morning before the rest of your day begins.
Workout for your core muscles
These are not lightweight pieces of machinery. Pedaling is an excellent leg exercise. The effort required to maintain your balance will provide a good workout for your core muscles. You can increase the impact of this effect by remembering to contract your abdominal muscles as much as possible while riding.
Cycling Can Help You Improve Your Fitness and Mental Health
Another advantage of riding an E-Bike is the mental aspect, not just the physical. Cycling is a great way to relax the mind and gain a sense of security. Studies have shown that regular exercise helps with depression, anxiety, and stress.
Endorphins are released during exercise, and cycling induces a state of mindfulness that can be highly beneficial. When riding an electric bike, you are completely present at the moment, focusing entirely on what you are doing, creating a distraction from the worries that might otherwise preoccupy your mind. This positively impacts people's lives and can help them reduce the amount of medication they require. We encourage everyone to get out and ride a bike because the benefits in your daily life are enormous.
We can find these effects on physical and mental health in an electric bike, not just in high-end models. Any E-Bike can provide the benefits of cycling. They are an excellent way to get a full-body workout regardless of age, gender, or ability.
Finally, the extent to which any e-biker, road cyclist, or mountain biker can train and work out depends entirely on the user. Mountain bikers can take it easy by walking up steep terrain. Turning on full assist mode on an e-bike is unlikely to get most people's heart rates into fat-burning mode.
However, the notion that e-bikes are 'easier' is incorrect; when used properly, they can extend your workout and allow you to spend more time on your bike, even on recovery days. And, with travel likely halted for at least a few months, now is an excellent time to put on a helmet and get some miles in on two wheels.