Living Well, Aging Well with e-Bikes
The beginning of January is the time for New Year’s Resolutions. Promises to ourselves to do all sorts of wonderful things over the next twelve months. Now is the time, in the words of one Akubra-hatted gentleman, to do yourself a favour (thank you, Molly) and not just promise, but do. Do bring the habit of increased physical activity into your life. And, of course, we reckon the best way to do that is to ride a pedal-assist electric bike! It’s a great workout and a really fun way to get around, whether you are riding a road/cruising e-bike or a mountain e-bike.
But why should you have increased physical activity in your life anyway? The UK’s National Health Service says that exercise has a multitude of benefits and is basically a miracle cure/preventative for many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer . Their paper Benefits of exercise also says, “For most people, the easiest way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life, like walking for health or cycling instead of using the car to get around.” You might think that riding an e-bike does not have the same oomph in the fitness field as normal cycling, but check out Stuart’s blog, Study reports e-Bikes help with Fitness and Health . He dispels that myth very well.
The title of this blog is not just Living Well, though. There is the Aging Well part, too. This is a topic close to my heart and hips, for my age (and weight) is creeping up there. And, after a series of injuries to my knees, as well as a change in jobs, my lifestyle has become increasingly sedentary. Recently, I have realised I do not move as well as I used to, and things that were simple have become more difficult. Basic things like getting out of a chair! I really seemed to have graduated into the Grandma class. Did you know that from as early as just thirty years of age we gradually lose muscle mass and strength? As we get older, it can get worse and can develop into a condition known as sarcopenia . Sarcopenia affects both men and women, really kicking in after the age of sixty. This condition can lead to other injuries, especially falls. It can also be associated with chronic diseases and more acute ailments . And after sixty, the consequences of a bad fall can be dire . Lack of physical activity can be a major contributing factor for developing sarcopenia. Nutrition and healthy eating also plays an important part, but let’s look at physical activity.
As you age, your physical activity often drops off. Maybe that’s due to an injury or change of work conditions or you are just so damn busy. When that happens, your muscle mass and muscle fibre strength, and numbers, decline leaving you less able, and motivated, to do what you used to. It’s the old “use it or lose it” thing. This lack of exercise, in turn, leads to more muscle fibre loss. It can be a vicious downward spiral.
Another contributing factor is a change in body composition and the infiltration of fat into the muscles. Higher rates of adipose tissue (fat) being deposited within the muscles has been found to be closely associated with “lower muscle quality and an accelerated loss of lean body mass” . And this situation, too, can spiral down.
Don’t despair though, (to paraphrase an old TV show) we have the technology – we can help rebuild you.
Physical activity will help you manage your rate of muscle mass degradation as well as help prevent it . According to Dr Adeel Khan “80% of chronic diseases are preventable by lifestyle.” 
We believe that riding an electric bike is a great way to improve the amount of movement you can bring into your life. It brings all the benefits of cardio exercise and is extra kind to joints that may be dealing with health challenges.
WebMD says, “Biking is a top-notch cardio workout. You’ll burn about 400 calories an hour. Plus it strengthens your lower body, including your legs, hips, and glutes.
The Victorian Government’s Better Health site  lists the following as benefits from cycling:
- increased cardiovascular fitness
- increased muscle strength and flexibility
- improved joint mobility
- decreased stress levels
- improved posture and coordination
- strengthened bones
- decreased body fat levels
- prevention or management of disease
- reduced anxiety and depression.
These multiple advantages of cycling are all weapons in our arsenal to fight the development and management of sarcopenia, allowing us to age well. We are working on the fronts of increasing muscle strength and decreasing body fat levels, with a whole host of other benefits.
With e-bikes we can take our partners and friends along for the ride – literally. Cycling is an activity to be enjoyed with loved ones, young and old, getting everyone to move their body. And with an e-bike ride, even a 25 kilometre ride lets you feel like a kid again, full of joy! It’s fun, adventure, a workout, sustainable transport, and wellness all rolled into one.
If you live close enough, you can substitute using an e-bike for driving your car to work or the shops. You can average around 15 kilometres in an hour’s cycling, so that brings work in range for many. It’s something to consider, especially when you are thinking about good health and longevity.
Increased fitness levels are more likely to give motivation for further exercise. You can bring in strength training which will give greater impact to your goals of increased muscle strength and mass.
As stated previously, correct nutrition is also vitally important to the production of new muscle tissue. Adequate protein is of utmost significance, it is absolutely necessary to build new muscle.  It is also great that you can eat quite a lot of protein and not increase your adipose tissue.
January is an ideal time to commit to increasing physical activity in our lives. Multiple Governmental Health Services underscore the remarkable preventive benefits of exercise against chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer, emphasising the importance of making moving your body a daily habit. Ageing well takes centre stage, as the onset of muscle loss and strength decline, known as sarcopenia, often comes with the passage of time. We possess the knowledge and tools to counteract this natural process. Making e-bike riding a frequent undertaking, offers numerous advantages, including cardiovascular fitness, joint mobility, stress reduction, bone strength, body fat management, and enhanced mental well-being. These benefits extend beyond individual health, as cycling fosters a sense of community and encourages shared experiences with loved ones of all ages. By integrating e-bike riding into our routines and maintaining proper nutrition, we can embark on a journey to better health, fostering strength and vitality that will empower us to age gracefully and joyfully.
by Tracey McKean
 Peterson, J. B. (Dr). (2023, 29th December). You Don’t Have To Live With Chronic Pain with Dr Adeel Khan (episode 409), Jordan B Peterson podcast. Dailywire+ (producer). Accessed on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOkRJb4UbPM&list=PL22J3VaeABQAbEeT04p5VmAOBmqw2kmxj&index=146