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Is It Possible to Get in Shape with an E-bike?

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Commuting via bicycle can reduce your carbon footprint, improve your overall health, and get some fresh air. However, depending on where you work and your wardrobe requirements, riding a bike can also make you tired and sweaty. An E-bike can make your bicycle commute easier.

But is it possible to get in shape with an electric bike? Here’s what I found:

Yes, it’s possible to get fit with an e-bike, and even lose weight. Class 1 electric bikes ( pedelec ) are only assisting the pedaling effort of a rider to a top speed of 20 miles per hour. The motor is working only when the rider is pedaling. If you have a Class 2 e-bike, you’ll have a throttle that works when you’re not pedaling, thus limiting your pedaling and cardio training.

Related read: How to Choose an Electric Bike – Complete Buying Guide

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You Get Started

Your bicycle journey may be easier to commit to with a little boost. Because E-bikes can be adjusted to support the rider when they need a bit more power, the inner excuses that get in your way, such as too hot, too hilly, too much to carry, become a bit easier. Your commute can become a fun, easy ride. An E-bike with a bike basket, a biking backpack, and a helmet can take the edge off of your cycling excuse list.

Read more: Electric Bike vs Car – Can an E-Bike Replace Your Car?

You Have Help When You Need It

Once you get started, you’ll learn enough about your cycling route to know when you need a little help. As you spend more time on your E-bike, you can push yourself to go a little farther without that help as the weeks roll by.

Chinese man riding an electric bike on a paved road

You do need to pedal while on an E-bike. However, you can get some help as you climb steep hills and long, low inclines. Some of the best e-bikes allow up to 45-60 miles of help per battery charge. This may mean you can take longer rides on flat trails, or go a bit further under your own power on a more challenging path. Your bike will help out when you’re wearing down.

Your Legs Are Engaged

Your leg muscles are some of the biggest in your body. Even if your quads aren’t big right now, cycling can help you burn calories in the muscles you do have, increase that muscle mass via resistance, and get your heart and lungs working a bit harder as you pedal over time.

Read more: Best Electric Bikes for Seniors

Cycling is also a great way to build up the flexibility and strength of your knees. Any serious knee injury can take a long time to heal, even if you don’t need surgery. Worse, a knee brace or splint can put pressure on your ankle, your hip, and your low back. When your knees don’t function well, it can throw off the rest of your skeletal alignment.

You Get Loads of Fresh Air

Exercise can lift your spirits and help you manage stress. While it should be noted that not all stress is bad, exposure to too much stress and problems you can’t solve on a regular basis can be extremely hard on your heart and your brain.

Once you get comfortable on your E-bike, you’ll find that cycling your normal route becomes a habit. Once your brain has automated your cycling habit, the power of getting your heart pumping a little harder while freeing up your thought processes to tackle more complicated problems.

Read more: How to Prepare Your Bicycle for Spring

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be cautious or keep your head up as you cycle, but you will get used to your new route, the time of day you have to leave, your lock-up spot, and other factors that will make your time on your E-bike relaxing. It will also free up your higher brain activity for serious problem-solving.

Stress leads to anxiety or the relentless spinning of problem thoughts with no solutions that block your creative powers. Over time, anxiety can lead to depression, which can be fatal. Using an E-bike to spin your feet instead of your thoughts can actually boost the health of your grey matter and your cardiac structure.

You Can Get Some Sun

Of course, you’ll need sunscreen when getting on your E-bike for a long ride during the day. However, you will still get a big Vitamin D boost from your daily commute or ride on a trail. Only ten minutes of sunlight on a summer day is needed to boost your Vitamin D level to where it needs to be for optimum health.

black e-bike parked on the beach in a sunny day

A low level of Vitamin D can put you at risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, both of which are hard on your heart. Worse, low levels of Vitamin D are a direct risk factor for

  • heart attack
  • congestive heart failure
  • stroke
  • arterial disease

You can boost your Vitamin D intake with enriched foods, such as milk and orange juice. Salmon and other fatty fishes are also a great source of Vitamin D. However, sunlight is really the easiest way to increase your Vitamin D levels, and your E-bike is a wonderful tool for fun in the sun!

Read more: How Many Miles Should You Cycle a Day to Lose Weight

Getting Beyond the E-Bike

One day, you may find that you seldom use the electric option of your E-bike and are ready to change things up. You’re in luck because you can quickly go from a simple touring E-bike used for flat trails to a mountain bike for a harder push.

If you can keep going on the cycling trail and build cardio health by logging more miles, do so. However, if you’d like to push yourself a bit harder, see some new scenery, and find even better rides, an E-bike upgrade is an easy next step.

If you are struggling to get back into an exercise routine, using an E-bike for simple trips or a casual daily ride is a great way to get started. As you get more comfortable on your E-bike, you may start looking for a longer ride or a bit more intense terrain.

Your fitness goals don’t have to be punitive. You can make a big difference in your overall health by getting your legs working harder when you can and relying on the pedal boost when you need it.

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About Alek Asaduryan

Alek Asaduryan is the founder of YesCycling and has been riding bikes and in the cycling industry since 1991. Since then, his mission is to make cycling more accessible to everyone. And each year, he continues to help more people to achieve that. When he's not out riding his beloved fitness bike, Alek reports on news, gear, guides, and all things cycling related.