I didn't buy an e-bike for health or to overcome health problems. I bought mine for transportation. But now that I own one, I can say for certain pedalecs are great for people who need more exercise to get it. Getting out to exercise is a very psychological barrier to overcome for most. If you're really unfit, you are likely already uncomfortable to doing many general movements, let alone strenuous ones. I think e-bikes are great ways to break down those psychological barriers. The idea of a motor (a non judgmental friend, so-to-speak) helping you get more active is an appealing idea. The key phrase for e-bikes helping with health is becoming "more active." The health benefits if inactivity is a negative value. Depending on what you're doing during those times of inactivity, it can be a pretty fast drop.
Like I said. I didn't buy an e-bike for health reasons. I got it to get rid of all the excuses of not using a regular bike for daily transportation. While the obstacles to overcome, for me, were more physical (speed, smoothing out hills, reducing sweat, improving endurance), I think the same can be used for overcoming inactivity. Even if it is less activity than a regular bike, it is positive activity vs negative inactivity. And if the spandex elite want to criticize you; tell them to buy a 60+ pound Stormer and set it to Regen2, to see if they really want a workout.
This speaks volumes to the number one cause of death in this country: Lifestyle choices. The number two preventable cause of death is sedentary lifestyle and bulk food intake. This will soon surpass the number one preventable cause of death, and that, of course, is smoking.
As we age, we tend to categorize activities on a polarized scale, in which challenge and comfort are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Based on my research, the brain associates electric bikes in a new category, whereby challenge and comfort are not mutually exclusive. The reason most people innately speculate that electric bike riding is "cheating" is because their brains have never experienced challenge and comfort in this modality, and thus it creates tension in the pre-frontal cortex.
I must admit I was apprehensive about making a monumental investment in the "new" innovative world of electric bikes. Now, I am looking to trade in my "value" Ebike for a high-end Stromer or Specialized. My goal now is to transition "carless" in hopes of getting in the best shape of my life. I already commute to work, and unlike many, I welcome the sweat as a badge of honor.
I am new to this forum, and I apologize in advance for digressing from intended subject matter. I just love when science conclusively states what feels so right!! Thank you for your tolerance and for the great post.
I, too, have been considering an e bike as a way to get back to bicycling and as a method of exercise. At 67, with a couple of distinguishing health issues, I need the help. And, I need to have some fun. Testing out these bikes brought back a smile to my face. Years ago, I had stopped downhill skiing due to back pain issues, which stemmed from my early years in the construction industry. Then, I tried out a belt, like weight lifters use. It was like magic. I was skiing again. Ditto when I then discovered "skiboards." It was like going from a massive boat of a car, to a 2 seater sports car. That smile again. I look at the e bike thing the same way. If it makes bike riding fun again, gets me out moving and increasing my stamina level, my muscle tone, my attitude, then it is in the good column. And, at this age, I'm not too concerned by the naysayers or 30 year old jocks in their day glo suits. I still drive a stick so bite me. HA !!
Here is another article I found relevant, especially to me as a Coloradan. But good information, which struck me as surprising. Then again, not surprising in this day and age when everybody has to fight over everything it seems.