Can You Get a Workout on an E-bike?

With the start of the new year generally come new resolutions to get more exercise and to lose some weight. But, can you do that on an e-bike? If you are more active with an e-bike than without, you should see some benefit. However, the question in my mind is it a worthwhile workout?  Unfortunately, that answer isn’t as clear because an e-bike can offer such a wide range of assistance. For example, at level 1 on my e-bike I’m doing most of the work and the motor providing about the same assistance as a good tailwind. However, at level 9 it is like riding an electric motorcycle with the motor doing most of the work.

Perhaps the best tip I can offer for maintaining or improving fitness with an e-bike is to use a heart rate monitor. Without a heart rate monitor it is very difficult to judge the intensity of the workout. Using a heart rate monitor I found that  I was getting a lot of aerobic exercise on my e-bike.  In fact, I was getting more aerobic exercise simply because I enjoyed the e-bike so much that I was riding my bike more. 

On the other hand, I also found that I wasn’t getting any anaerobic exercise on the e-bike because I was dialing up the assistance and zipping up the hills without putting in much effort.  To get a meaningful workout I have to calculate the heart rate and my intervals I want to maintain and adjust my e-bike assistance to get the workout I want.

If you are new to judging the intensity of your workout, here is an article by the Mayo Clinic,  Exercise intensity: How to measure it, that might help.

Ken Whittaker