How to burn calories and lose weight on an e-bike
Losing weight and riding an e-bike are by no means mutually exclusive – with the right approach, e-biking can be a great way to burn calories and lose weight.
How many calories are burned riding an e-bike?
There is a persistent belief that riding an e-bike is lazy, doesn’t count as exercise, and hardly burns any calories. In truth, how many calories you burn while riding an electric bike depends on several factors:
Pedalling force – how hard are you pushing down on the pedals?
Cadence – How many crank revolutions are you completing within a given time? Are you just pedalling along or giving everything you’ve got?
Speed – The faster you ride, the more you have to exert yourself.
Body weight – The more you (and your bike) weigh, the more effort it takes to maintain a certain speed or pedalling cadence.
Muscle mass – The more muscles are working, the more calories are burnt.
Route topography – Routes with a lot of elevation gain are more demanding than flat bike paths, adding to the overall calorie use.
Support modes of your e-bike motor – The lower the power setting on your e-bike, the more of your own energy you use, burning more calories as a result.
How can I calculate calorie use on an e-bike?
It’s very difficult to come up with a universal formula for calculating calorie use while cycling, with or without electrical support. There are just many variables (see above) to factor in. Generally, riding a bike burns between 200 and 600 calories per hour.
Using an electrical motor for support results in a lower training effort and reduces calorie consumption proportionally. Sports medicine specialists assume 300 calories per hour for an average level of effort.
Is an e-bike effective for weight loss?
Losing weight revolves around a simple rule: Burn more calories than you take in. On an e-bike, you burn between 100 and 600 calories per hour depending on your support setting and riding intensity. The less you use your motor, the more you end up exercising your body, resulting in higher calorie use.
In general, you can go by the following principle: If you don’t feel any strain on your muscles and breathing while riding, your calorie consumption is at the lower end of the range. If your thighs are burning, you are sweating and breathing faster, that means you are burning much more calories.
One main advantage of riding an e-bike for weight loss is the increased motivation. You can always rest assured that if you get tired, your way back home will be much easier thanks to the motor. Studies show that e-bike owners spend 60 % more time riding their bike.
What other health benefits are there to riding an e-bike?
In addition to burning calories, riding an e-bike offers numerous health benefits:
An e-bike lets you spend 60 % more time riding, so you automatically spend more time exercising.
Your blood oxygen levels are increased, resulting in a lower risk of stroke or cardiac arrest.
It builds endurance and strength.
Having more muscle mass means you automatically burn more calories even when you’re not riding.
Riding an e-bike on a regular basis improves your fat and glucose metabolism.
Cycling reduces stress.
Riding out in the sunshine boosts your vitamin-D production, strengthening your immune system, your mind, and your bone structure.
Exercising with lots of fresh air leads to increased oxygen levels in your brain.
Benefits to your cardiovascular system
Exercise is good for your cardiovascular system, and riding an e-bike is no exception. Doing endurance sports – which includes e-biking – is one of the best ways to protect yourself against cardiac diseases and strengthen your cardiovascular system. If you have any cardiac issues, you should talk to your doctor to find out whether and to what extent riding an e-bike will be good for you. In such cases, riding with a heart-rate monitor to keep tabs on your heart might be a good idea.
Building strength and endurance on your e-bike
As long as you aren’t constantly riding on the highest power setting, riding your e-bike is a great way to train. You should feel a certain level of exertion while riding in order to reap the benefits to your strength and endurance. Longer rides are especially good for your endurance. Try increasing your pedalling cadence on longer rides. That means spinning the cranks at a higher frequency while using less force. It leads to improved circulation in your legs and helps build endurance as well as strength.
Reducing stress: What benefits your body also benefits your mind
Exercise, fresh air, and sunlight – three ingredients for a relaxed body and mind. People who exercise outside are scientifically proven to be more relaxed and in a better mood. That obviously applies to your free time, but can also include your way to work. Riding a few miles on your bike before starting your workday can help you be more balanced and give you extra energy throughout the day. At the same time, the physical health benefits make your body feel better, which in turn improves your outlook on life.