Guidance for Riding E-bicycle with Certain Health Conditions

Last Updated on June 2, 2022 by Igor Karni

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While it can certainly be daunting to think of doing exercise when dealing with health issues, oftentimes it’s the best thing a person can do to improve and maintain a healthy body and mind. 

That being said, is it safe to ride an e-Bike when dealing with health-related barriers?  

This article will address how riders dealing with various physical and mental conditions can effectively utilize e-Bikes to improve their health. You may be surprised to hear just how many benefits e-Bikes have! 

Riding an electric bike after hip replacement

A hip replacement is a surgery that replaces one’s hip joint with an artificial joint (source). It’s major surgery, and the rehabilitation process is often a long one. 

Hip replacement patients are required to follow an extensive rehab process in order to heal properly. That said, patients are encouraged to ease themselves back into physical activity once they are able to, and riding an electric bike is a great way to get exercise in without overdoing it. 

While the main concern is finding an exercise that is both beneficial but isn’t too hard on the joints, cycling is a low impact and non-weight bearing sport that is easy to use because of the electric assistance feature. 

Riding an e-bike has many benefits, such as strengthening muscles and improving mobility. This is why exercising is so important to do after major joint-related surgery because the activity will help to strengthen the muscles surrounding the operated joint, whereas inactivity may lead to decreased range of motion and muscle strength. 

Read also: Which muscles work when riding an electric bike? And, How does riding an e-bike change your body shape?

And since e-Bikes give riders the extra boost with electric power, it is less physically exhausting than other exercise equipment which solely relies on human power. 

If you are a hip replacement patient, it’s imperative to understand which features of the e-Bike will be most beneficial to you. For example, use a cadence sensor rather than a torque sensor. Cadence sensors will help to regulate your speed and keep your ride consistent, whereas torque sensors can cause surging and are used to measure the force in which you are pedaling, which is not necessary for those who need to take it easy on their joints. 

A few tips to follow is that you should ride on level surfaces when recovering, as uneven terrain can be bumpy and put undue strain on your hips. Try not to bring your knee higher than your hip, which can be accomplished by adjusting the saddle height accordingly. 

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Keeping your back straight and adjusting handlebars to avoid curving your spine is also essential, as it will keep from putting pressure on your hips. Finally, ensure that your feet are facing forward, as twisting or bending may put a strain on the hip joints. 

Start off low and slow with a 10 or 15-minute workout whenever you feel you are able and use as much pedal assist as necessary. You can then build up from there accordingly, lowering pedal-assist as you start to build up strength and gain mobility. 

You will find a more detailed article here.

Riding an electric bike with bad knees and arthritis

Similarly to when dealing with a hip replacement, people who deal with bad knees or arthritis (source) deal with the issue of finding a reliable form of exercise that doesn’t exacerbate their existing condition.

Staying sedentary is the worst thing one can do, especially when dealing with inflammation (which will only get worse with further inactivity). So, how does one accomplish regular activity when struggling with bad knees? 

As mentioned before, cycling is a low-impact form of exercise. However, traditional bicycles can often still be hard on the joints, especially when one is dealing with swelling, pain, or limited motion (a frequent effect of arthritis). Relying solely on human power is often not feasible for those with bad knees. 

The pedal-assist feature on e-Bikes offers the perfect balance, luckily, as riders can get the benefits of cycling without having to overdo it or exhaust themselves trying.

Easy Fact: Riding an e-bike is one of the top forms of exercise that doctors prescribe to those dealing with bad knees.

Riding an electric bicycle will also help to improve bone and joint health and will also strengthen the surrounding muscles on your knees, ultimately maximizing mobility. 

If you ride your e-Bike regularly or semi-regularly, it’s also worth noting that cycling is an effective form of aerobic exercise, which can help riders to lose weight. Since the knees bear the brunt of our body weight when we stand or walk, being physically fit is important in maintaining good knee health. 

Staying at a healthy body weight will help to minimize unnecessary stress on the knees, which will help to manage and even improve bad knees and arthritis. 

Read also: Can I use e-bike to get fit or for weight loss? And, Are e-bikes good for cardio exercise

Before you get started on riding, be sure that your e-Bike is fitted properly for you. This includes adjusting your handlebars and seat to ensure that you will not have to bend unnecessarily when mounting, riding, and dismounting your e-Bike. Having a proper seat height will also help to make sure your knees don’t bend more than they need to when riding. 

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A few more tips to keep in mind: keep your pedaling rate consistent, as this will alleviate stress off your knees. Use paved bike paths when they are available, as this will create a softer impact on your knees than uneven roads will.

Lastly, consider buying an e-Bike with a 500-watt motor, as this will help you to ride uneven terrain – such as hills – without putting too much stress on your knees. 

You will find a more detailed article here.

Riding an electric bike with sciatica 

Sciatica is a condition that typically affects the nerves in the lower back, buttocks, and legs (source). 

While it may be overwhelming to think of getting on an e-Bike when dealing with this type of pain, one of the biggest pieces of advice for patients is that sitting and being sedentary for long periods of time is a no-no. This is because being static is one of the main triggers and causes of sciatica. 

Exercising can both strengthen the muscles in the areas affected by sciatica as well as help to relieve tension. Due to a pedal-assist feature, sciatica patients do not have to worry about having to put in the manual effort the way traditional bicycles demand. 

Choosing the proper e-Bike is also imperative: depending on the severity of your condition and other factors such as your preferred methods of exercise and the location of where you are primarily riding, you can choose between a comfort cruiser e-Bike, electric tricycle, recumbent e-Bike, eMTB, and a city-style e-Bike, all of which have their own pros and cons. 

Read also: How to select the best cruiser e-bike? And, How much does a good cruiser e-bike cost?

One good tip to follow is to stretch your lower back, quads, glutes, and hamstrings before you ride your e-Bike, as this will help to prevent tightness and reduce the chances of aggravating your sciatica. Another good tip is to keep your weight distributed evenly between your arms and chest while you ride and to shift your position periodically to avoid putting pressure on your lower back and spine. 

The good news is that most riders with sciatica note that riding an e-bike doesn’t worsen their condition and that in fact, their range of motion and flexibility is much improved after using their e-Bikes regularly! 

You will find a more detailed article here.

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Riding an electric bike with cardiac issues 

People dealing with heart-related issues (source) have to be careful about the physical activity that they do. This is one of the instances where “pushing yourself beyond the limits” is not recommended, as this can potentially lead to further heart damage. 

Fortunately, the incredibly customizable nature of e-Bikes makes it a great option for those dealing with heart-related issues. Since cycling is an aerobic, or cardiovascular, exercise, cycling will help to improve your heart health while simultaneously allowing you to adjust your workout according to the severity of your condition. 

This means you can rely on the lowest intensity (or, the highest level of pedal-assist) and use light effort when pedaling and still get your heart rate up and circulation going.  

A good suggestion to abide by is to purchase a heart rate monitor for your e-Bike, which will give you real-time updates on how your heart is doing. Try to ride on even terrain as opposed to a bumpy and uneven landscape in order to avoid overworking your heart unnecessarily. Lastly, take regular breaks and make sure to stay plenty hydrated.  

If you are an elderly person who has dealt with major heart conditions or events, have no fear: many riders who are well into their 60s, 70s, and 80s still ride their e-bikes and have even noted that the sport has brought back a sense of freedom and mobility that was not present in their lives before. 

Riding your e-Bike will ultimately strengthen your heart muscles, improve blood pressure and lung health, will lower your resting heart rate, and reduce blood fat levels. You will improve your overall fitness, which will, in turn, decrease the chances of further heart problems. 

You will find a more detailed article here.

Riding an electric bike with type II diabetes 

Diabetes, a metabolic disease wherein the body produces insufficient insulin and thus causes high blood sugar (source), can be difficult to manage. However, if you are dealing with type II diabetes, in particular, it can be managed and, in some cases, reversed via regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

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However, the issue then becomes for patients to find a reliable form of exercise that is both easy to use and easy to incorporate into daily life. 

Riding an electric bicycle is a form of exercise that is not too hard on the body, nor will it exhaust or fatigue you the way many other forms of exercise, like traditional cycling, do. 

Losing weight is also imperative when it comes to managing diabetes, as being overweight is one of the main risk factors for diabetes. Having a regular exercise routine, which can easily be done with an e-Bike as it can be used for your commute or other errands, will help to improve your overall fitness. 

Read also: Would riding an e-bike help me lose belly fat? And, Which muscles work when riding an electric bicycle?

Since it is an aerobic exercise, this means your entire body will benefit from it, specifically your heart, lungs, and metabolism. Boosting your metabolism means that you will more easily be able to burn calories, which ultimately means you will have an easier time with weight loss. Weight loss continues to be one of the main factors that can help type II diabetes patients achieve remission. 

Since the nerve endings in the feet are often affected by diabetes, which often leads to numbness, tingling, and nerve damage, riding an electric bicycle is also a great option since there is not too much pressure being put on the feet when riding. This means that riding an e-bike is an effective form of exercise that doesn’t risk nerve damage in the feet. Cycling will also help regulate and lead to healthier blood glucose tolerance. 

E-Bikes are a great option for diabetics who are looking for a sustainable form of exercise. Lethargy and lack of motivation to do tiresome exercise are often correlated with diabetes, so the accessibility of riding an electric bike makes the task much less intimidating. 

You will find a more detailed article here.

Riding an electric under stress and anxiety 

An experience of riding an e-bike is not only beneficial to those dealing with physical ailments; it can also help to improve mental health. 

For those dealing in particular with stress and anxiety (source), riding an e-bike is an exercise that can help to relieve tension and be a healthy distraction from the mind. For example, e-cycling is an exercise focused on consistent and rhythmic movement, which can help anxiety sufferers to zero in on something else aside from their anxiety.  

For stress-sufferers, many already know that stress can manifest in physical ways. This can include but is not limited to muscle tightness in the shoulders, back, and neck. Riding an e-bike, and cycling, in general, help to loosen and relax those muscles. 

The pressure is released when exercising, but riding an e-bike also ensures that you are working out your whole body as opposed to putting too much effort into one specific area. Exercising also has the ability to break the cycle of stress, ultimately allowing you to feel stronger mentally and physically. 

For those who suffer from panic attacks (a frequent side effect of anxiety and stress), one will notice that your heart tends to beat unnaturally fast. Shallow breathing tends to lead to panic attacks, and this is because the buildup of carbon dioxide – and, in turn, lack of oxygen to the brain – results in high stress levels. 

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Riding an e-bike helps to regulate your breathing, therefore strengthening your lungs and diaphragm, which means that more oxygen will enter your body while cycling. This can ultimately help to manage stress and anxiety, reducing the chances of panic attacks and intense cycles of stress.

You will find more detailed articles here and here.

Riding an electric bicycle with a sprained ankle 

Dealing with a sprained ankle (source) can make it difficult to gauge which physical activities are safe to do and which ones are off-limits. You may be surprised to hear that riding an electric bicycle is one of the exercises that are actually beneficial for this condition! 

Though patients with sprained ankles should not engage in exercise while swelling is still occurring, it’s important to begin movement and exercise as soon as you are able to do so.

Exercising will help to increase range of motion, similar to the way knees, hips, and other joint-related injuries or conditions are benefitted. Regular movement will reduce pain and ultimately prevent your ankle from becoming weaker or stiffer. 

Read also: Here is why riding an e-bike is probably the best exercise with asthma. And, Would riding an electric bicycle help with cancer treatment?

Since riding an e-bike is a non-weight-bearing exercise, this will help to get your ankle moving without moving it too much. Your legs and knees are constantly moving on an e-Bike, and though your ankles are relied on for balance, they will not be getting the brunt of the pressure while riding, especially since they stay in place while pedaling. This is because your weight is evenly dispersed between your legs, arms, and core muscles while you are riding your electric bicycle. 

Your ankle will benefit from e-bike riding since the exercise helps to build muscle strength and flexibility. The adjustable nature of the pedal-assist feature also means that you can start off slow and build up gradually when it comes to the intensity and resistance levels of your workout, doing so only when you feel your ankle can handle it. 

A good tip to abide by is to avoid bike sprints and steep hills (in fact, try to stay on level ground for the most part, especially at the beginning of your rehabilitative process). If used correctly, your e-Bike can be a huge part of your ankle’s healing process, and can effectively get you back into a regular fitness routine. 

You will find a more detailed article here.

A few words in conclusion

You may notice a few common themes across the board: maintaining balance, listening to your body, and customizing your workout to what works best for you will ultimately make your e-bike riding experience the most beneficial. 

No matter what condition you might be dealing with, riding an e-bike has proven time and time again to be a method of exercise that is accessible for all, regardless of age, disposition, or physical/mental barrier. 

E-bike riding is truly for everyone, and as long as you are able to discern how to adjust your e-Bike and regimen in the way that feels most comfortable for yourself, you will be able to reap the rewards and change your life for the better!

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