Cycling on an electric bike just a few times each week can improve an adult’s cardiorespiratory performance and general health in ways similar to riding a conventional bicycle or taking vigorous walks, according to several clinical studies. One of the most telling studies, released in the May 2018 edition of the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, compared the peak oxygen uptake (VO2 max) of 32, overweight adults before and after four weeks of bicycle commuting.‹ Go back to the blog
returning to physical activity after a prolonged period of inactivity,” the guide concluded.
Swiss Study Shows Electic Bikes Improve VO2 MaxThe study, “Effect of E-Bike Versus Bike Commuting on Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Overweight Adults,” took its participants from local government offices in and around Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft, Switzerland during the summer of 2016.
Riding a bicycle or an electric bike to work may improve your cardiovascular health. Photo by Blubel.For more than a decade, the Swiss government has been trying to encourage citizens to ride a conventional bicycle or electric bike to work rather than driving or taking public transportation. As part of this program, the nation holds a four-week “Bike to Work” promotion during the warm summer months. This promotion served as the intervention period for the Swiss study. Each of the subjects was relatively overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 35. (A BMI of 18.5 to 25 is considered normal, according to the American Heart Association.) Each participant was an adult aged 18-to-50, and each was willing to cycle to work at least three times each week during the intervention period. The subject’s commute had to be at least 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) each way. Other than cycling, the participants kept their normal eating habits and normal levels of physical activity. To determine how cycling impacted each of the subjects, the Swiss researches measured VO2 max before and after the four-week intervention. VO2 max measures the peak amount of oxygen a person can use during intense exercise. It is considered a good measurement of aerobic endurance and cardiovascular fitness. Thus, any improvement in VO2 max would indicate that bicycling imply heart and lung health.
The Swiss study showed that riding an electric bike to work (or just riding an electric bike in general) improves your ability to update oxygen.At the beginning of the study, all 32 participants had normal VO2 max scores and normal resting blood pressure levels. By the end of the intervention period, those participants riding electric bikes had improved their VO2 max by 3.6 mL/(kg·min) from a mean of 35.7 mL/(kg·min) before the trial to a mean of 39.3 mL/(kg·min) at the end of the four-week period. Conventional bike riders enjoyed a 2.2 mL/(kg·min) gain from a mean of 36.4 mL/(kg·min) at the beginning of the study to a mean of 38.6 mL/(kg·min) at the study’s conclusion. The study subjects also enjoyed improvements in resting heart rate and resting blood pressure after just four-weeks of cycling to work. Bottom line, electric bikes “may have the potential to improve cardiorespiratory fitness similar to conventional bicycles despite the available power assist, as they enable higher biking speeds and greater elevation gain,” wrote the Swiss study’s authors.