Electric Bikes in Healthcare
As we look progressively at how we can make a real change to our lives for the better, cycling is widely recognised by healthcare professionals as a greatway to transformourselvesand our lifestyle. Not only is it a way to stay fit, it is also a money saving solution to increasing car costs and fuel price rises. For those who want to make a commitment to changeand want to make promisesthat they can live up to, the electric bike is a big step towards a real improvement in quality of life. People are sometimes mistaken that electric bikes are aimed at enticing current cyclists away from regular bikes, but they are actually to give people who rarely cycle the impulse to do so far more regularly. Surgeries in the UK are catching on to the benefits of offering electric bikes to patients and staff.
Schemes to loan e-bikes to patients for a period of around two weeks are already in place at some medical practices. This allowspeople to re-discover their love of cycling without being daunted by the prospect of heavy exercise. By using e-bikes, people can build up the amount of exercise they do over time, as they are in control, how much effort you put in. E-bikes greatly reduce the risk of over-exertion in a workout.
Seeing bikes as a leisurely activity that can be easily incorporated into day to day trips to the shops or bike rides around townmakes it much more enticing: almost exercise in disguise. Studies show that e-bike users cycle further and more frequently than owners of regular bicycles and they gain moderate exercise, in line with the recommendation of 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 times each week. After the trial,the hope is patients feel far more comfortable at the prospect of cycling regularly, and that they invest in their own bicycle or e-bike. Caythorpe & Ancaster Medical Practice state that they “are committed to initiatives that lead to our patients taking regular and appropriate exercise” in regards to their own electric bikeschemethat they have had in place for three years.
We spoke to Doctor Antony Watts about its success:“All the patients and staff loved it. The bikes are all pedal assist so the harder you pedal the more assistance you get, which is great as each person got a good workout but was still using less energy. They are great for everyone: people with arthritis, people with weight problems and people who have not cycled for a long time, with the step through frame making it easy to use. Quite a few of our patients and staff have gone on to buy e-bikes and some normal bikes after using ours, which is precisely what we want from the scheme: a commitment to exercise that’s easy to keep.”
Dr Julian Orton has also recently written about the benefits of GPs using e-bikes forhome visits and commuting, stating that cycling will “provide a talking point, if not an inspiring example, for your patients.” Dr Orton talks of savings in fuel, reducing his carbon footprint, making tax savings on the e-bike and the e-bike enabling him to carry out most home visits by cycling.