Give Yourself a Brain Boost

Are you wondering if riding an electric bike really delivers any sort of health benefits? After all, it’s ‘cheating’ according to some, right? Not at all! Electric bikes may give the same brain boost as pedal-powered bikes do to older people. Cyclists using e-bikes between ages of 50 and 83 got better cognitive and mental health benefits than on pedal bikes, according to a recent study.

For the study, some cyclists rode e-bikes three times a week for 30 minutes over eight weeks. Other participants rode pedal-powered bikes for the same periods. The cyclists on the e-bikes spent 28% of their rides in the lowest power setting and 15% with the motor turned off, the researchers say.

“It is really encouraging that this research suggests older adults’ cognitive function, particularly what we call executive function as well as processing speed, could be improved by cycling in the natural/urban environment, even when that was on an electrically assisted e-bike,” Louise-Ann Leyland, a researcher at University College London and study author, said in a news release.

“We had thought that those who used traditional, pedal-only powered bikes would have the greatest brain and mental health boost, as they would be giving their cardiovascular systems the biggest workout,” said Carien Van Reekum, a professor of psychology at the University of Reading.

“Instead, people who used e-bikes told us that they felt more confident in completing the requested activity of three 30-minute rides a week for eight weeks, compared to pedal bikers. The fact that the group was able to get outside on a bike, even without much physical exertion, is likely to make people feel mentally better.”

So, as it turns out (this is something we at AEB have known for a decade now), riding an ebike is one of those rare instances when you really can have your cake and eat it too! Now you can tackle those tough hills with relative ease, still get plenty of healthful benefits, AND have a jolly good time all the while. What’s not to like about that?!