Can I really lose weight and get fit with an e-bike?

In the UK over 68% of men and 59% of women are likely to be overweight or obese. The causes of obesity are complex, but what can be said with certainty is that the hardest part of trying to improve your health and fitness is getting started and making being more active the norm for your lifestyle. It defies logic that we would look forward to doing something that leaves us gasping for air and with aching muscles afterwards, even if we accept that it will benefit us in the long term. This is where an electric bike (e-bike) can help you achieve the gains without the pain.

With the assistance of an electric motor, riding an e-bike can be as easy or as difficult as you choose to make it. But how much will this really help my fitness or weight loss? Let's take a look at some research to find out. A study published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine looked at the effects of commuting by e-bike on respiratory fitness. Perhaps most interesting is that the study took place over just 4 weeks and the volunteers taking part had only to commute 3 days per week at a speed of their own choosing. No flat out sprinting or suffering like an Olympic hopeful. The study found that after one month, respiratory fitness improved more in the e-bike riders than in those riding a regular bike. The researchers suggested that this may be down to the assistance of an e-bike allowing higher riding speeds and greater elevation gain (riding up more hills). The key thing to take away is that riding an e-bike for as little as 3 times a week for one month will improve your fitness.

If only 4 weeks of commuting can bring a measurable increase in respiratory fitness, what can an e-bike do for weight loss? Researchers at Copenhagen University followed four groups of overweight or obese people over a 6 month period. One group made no changes to their activity levels, the second exercised moderately 5 times per week, the third exercised vigorously 5 times per week, and the fourth commuted daily. After 6 months all three of the active groups had lost fat, but the highest fat loss was in the commuter (average 4.2kg loss) and vigorous exercise (average 4.5kg loss) groups. The group that exercised moderately lost 2.6kg on average after 6 months. In other words, commuting by bike was more effective for weight loss than dedicated moderate exercise sessions 5 times per week.

Of course, a key part of any weight loss plan is staying motivated. With an e-bike, fighting against a headwind or getting up that big hill on your route to work are no longer an issue. You can increase the amount of assistance that the motor provides and maintain the amount of effort that matches your current fitness level and motivation. Importantly you'll still get that pleasurable endorphin rush in your brain, increasing your motivation and increasing the chances that you'll make riding a part of your normal routine.

At iCycle Ltd we offer free 24 hour test rides on any e-bike in our showroom*. If you want to try an electric bike for more than 24 hours then you can also take advantage of our bike rental service. You can hire a bike for a few days or weeks - it's a great way to find out what type of bike you want and to experience first hand how quickly you'll start to feel the benefits of regular e-bike rides.

We also regularly host free demo days for groups or businesses who are interested in discovering more about the benefits of e-bike ownership. If you are a member of a slimming club get in touch today by calling 01772 347 927 or 01200 442 306. We'd be more than happy to arrange a demo day for your members.

*Excludes bikes being sold on behalf of customers.

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