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Riding an electric bike helped adults with type-2 diabetes improve aerobic conditioning and lower cardiometabolic risk factors, according to a recent study. Researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom monitored the impact riding an electric bike had on participants with type-2 diabetes. The study’s 18 subjects rode their electric bikes an average of 13 miles per week for 20 weeks. The subjects enjoyed a 10.9 percent increase in predicted maximal aerobic power over the course of the study. And participants reached 74.7 percent of their maximum heart rate while riding an electric bike compared to 64.3 percent when walking. Riding an electric bike is not as vigorous an exercise as riding a conventional bike or, perhaps, even running long distances, but the activity provides a better workout than simply walking. And, as this study concluded, riding an electric bike may be enough to help reduce the risks associated with type-2 diabetes, perhaps, even playing a role in remission associated with weight loss.

Type-2 Diabetes

In the United States, more than 30 million adults have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some 90-to-95 percent of those cases take the form of type-2 diabetes.
Diabetes is nearly at epidemic levels in the United States. Source CDC.
  Your body uses the hormone, insulin, to help convert glucose (sugar) into energy in your cells. With type-2 diabetes the cells resist insulin’s impact, causing the pancreas to try and produce more and more insulin to compensate. But the pancreas just cannot keep up and the body’s blood sugar levels grow dangerously high. High blood sugar can cause heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and vision loss. Major risk factors for type-2 diabetes include being overweight or obese and not exercising at least three times per week. In part, this is why the University of Bristol researchers believe that electric bikes may help. “Lifestyle change, including weight loss, improves concentration and other cardiovascular risk factors in people with type-2 diabetes, and can achieve remission to a non-diabetic state, with remission closely related to the degree of weight loss,” wrote the University of Bristol researchers. “As well as weight loss, increasing physical activity is a target of such interventions, but success in changing activity behavior is often limited and any changes are rarely maintained at initial levels. Physical activity has independent benefits for health and is important in the maintenance of weight loss; there is a need, therefore, to develop acceptable and sustainable physical activity interventions for people with type 2 diabetes,” the researchers continued. “This is challenging, however, because this population is less active than those without diabetes and responds poorly to advise to increase physical activity.”

Electric Bikes are Fun to Ride and Encourage Exercise

Even when a person knows that he or she should get more exercise, it can be very difficult to get started. Exercise may not feel good. And exercise can be a little scary. There can be anxiety associated with getting started on a bike ride, for example, and not feeling certain that you have the energy to climb the next hill or even pedal back to the house. “Electric bicycles provide graded assistance to the rider, helping to overcome such barriers, and are increasingly popular, particularly amongst middle-aged to older adults,” the University of Bristol researchers wrote. “Electric bikes can be especially empowering for those who would like to exercise more, but who have a health condition that limits the amount of physical activity they can perform. By controlling the amount of assistance they receive from the motor, ebike riders can tailor the difficulty level of their rides to meet their unique health and fitness needs. This can be especially helpful to those with joint pain, exercise-induced asthma, heart or lung problems, or who are overweight,” wrote Boris and Yevgeniy Mordkovich in “The Complete Electric Bike Buyer’s Guide.” Perhaps as evidence of just how empowering an electric bike can be, the University of Bristol study also reported that 14 and the 18 participants purchased their own electric bike after the 20-week study so they could keep riding. After all, riding an electric bike is fun.
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.

Swiss Study Shows Electic Bikes Improve VO2 Max

The 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.

Electric Bikes Overcome the Barriers to Exercise

This Swiss study’s findings are generally consistent with other clinical research. An analysis of electric-bike-related clinical studies, “Health benefits of electrically-assisted cycling: a systematic review,” published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity in 2018 reported that eight of eleven studies examined showed improvements in oxygen uptake as a result of riding an electric bike. “Riding an e-bike led to a relative mean oxygen uptake of 14.7 to 29  ml/min/kg or 51 to 74 percent of maximum oxygen uptake,” the analysis said. What’s more, many adults may find it easier to start exercising with an electric bike than to get started walking, running, or riding a conventional bicycle. Electric bikes may help adults become and stay more active. “Electric bikes offer riders a high degree of control over the level of physical exertion required to ride, making them particularly helpful for anybody who would like to become more fit, but who may need to gradually and carefully ease into increased physical activity,” according to chapter three of “The Complete Electric Bike Buyer’s Guide.” “Electric bikes, therefore, may provide an especially helpful way to exercise for those who fall into the following categories: recovering from an injury or illness, looking for a low-impact workout, elderly cyclists, people who are new to working out, returning to physical activity after a prolonged period of inactivity,” the guide concluded.
Retirees and senior citizens can face a number of unique challenges, such as staying fit, retaining mobility, connecting with their grandkids, and more. Fitness fads come and go, old injuries flare up, and families move, presenting unique issues that seem to change every week. But with any challenge comes a tremendous opportunity, and fortunately that’s exactly the case here. Smart seniors have a solution that lets them stay healthy and mobile, have fun with their friends and family, and most importantly - get in shape! So what’s the best way to stay strong as you enter your golden years? Electric bicycles! Let’s break down the challenges seniors face one by one, and see how an ebike is the perfect way to stay active no matter what your age.

Staying in Shape

There’s no way of sugar coating this hard truth: as you get older, exercising becomes trickier. Bones creek, old injuries flare up, and certain ailments like high blood pressure can make certain activities dangerous. After all, there’s a reason you don’t see many 50 year olds playing football! There are two things a senior should look for in an exercise regimen: that it’s aerobic, and that it’s low impact. Aerobic, or cardio, means that the routine gets your heart pumping faster, which increases the the calories you burn and muscle you build, while help staving off heart disease. Low impact means that the exercise is easy on your body, as in you’re not hitting your knees against tough pavement or getting pummelled by opposing players. This means we can rule out activities like weightlifting, as that doesn’t get your heart rate up. Running, basketball, or hockey can also be perilous, as the impact could potentially damage fraile bodies. A classic example of a sport that is cardio and low impact would be swimming: it gets your heart way up, and since you’re just gliding through water, there’s almost no impact to injure you. But, most people don’t have access to pools that often. Do you know what EVERYONE does has access to? Roads, streets and trails! That’s why bicycling is the perfect activity for seniors. It gets your heart rate up, and since your legs and just gliding in perfect circles, there’s very little “impact” to hurt your body. That’s why organizations like the AARP recommend bicycling to their members. And if bicycling is good, electric biking is even better. For starters, it lets inexperienced riders quickly get comfortable, as they don’t have to worry about going to slow, or getting overly out of breath. It also lets any rider dramatically expand their range, as they can now complement their leg muscles with the smooth boost of electric power, whenever they want. And if you go on a lovely ride and decide you don’t want to pedal on your way back, just let the batteries do all the work for you! ballerina-bicycle-fitness-man-old-health-forest-trees-park-tree-exercise-dance-dancing-race-1542502

Increased Mobility

If there’s one thing you can say about Americans of any age, it’s that they love their mobility: the freedom to travel, unfettered access to our country’s beautiful cities and natural wonders — it’s all a part of the American dream! But some seniors find that as they age, getting around can be trickier. Maybe they’re not as comfortable driving their car at all times. Maybe the high cost of gasoline has got you worried about your pocketbook. Maybe you’re environmentally conscious and don’t like the idea of burning fuel to run simple errands around town. Alternatively, maybe you love to travel, and are looking for a mode of transport that will complement your RVing or road trips. Or perhaps you’ve just been eyeing the beautiful riding trails that are more and more popular all across the country. With an electric bike, all this mobility will be yours again. Riding a bike gets you across distances about 3 to 4 times as fast as walking. And when you add in some electric boost, you could be going up 20 miles per hour. That’s faster than those cars sitting in traffic! What about range? Well, select EVELOs can go up to 60 miles on one charge. That’s more than enough to tackle most any beautiful trail or ride to the market and back again, with plenty of room to spare. With an electric bike, the only limitation is your imagination! woman-with-bicycle-1436155

Family Fun

Have you been looking to reconnect with your family and friends? Or maybe there are community members and events you’d like to better engage with. With an electric bike, you can do any of those things. There are few things that bring people together quite like riding a bike. The serenity of nature surrounds you, the smell of leaves is complemented by a rush of endorphins as you and your loved ones head down your chosen path. But without a little electrical assistance, some seniors find their grandkids will race way ahead of them, or get testy waiting for grandma and grandpa to catch up. With an electric bike, you’ll be the one kicking THEIR butts! Joking aside, an ebike will more than let you keep up with the kiddos, and allow you to set the course and choose the adventure as you head down the bike path. But bike rides aren’t just for families. We’ve seen more than our fair share of friendships rekindled with a shared love of biking. Whether it’s to a beautiful destination or events around town, getting somewhere on bike really brings friends, both old and new, together. No matter where you live, there are sure to be great bike events for you to participate in. And that really is the best part of it; once you’re on your bike you’ll be having fun, being mobile, and staying in shape — all at once!

Guaranteed Good Times

So what are you waiting for? Nowadays there are countless different electric bicycles out there, all ready for riders of different skills and sizes. Plus, some brands, such as EVELO, even offer trial periods that ensure you’ll love your bicycle and are happy with your purchase. The sooner you can get yourself on an ebike, the sooner you can be having fun, losing weight, gaining muscle, and staying fit. With an electric bicycle - you’ll feel like a kid again! A healthy, happy, and fit kid, to be specific. So, we hope to see you out there on your ebike sometime soon. Happy riding, Team EVELO