Electric bicycles ‘increase cognitive function’, claims new study

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Using electric bikes can help to improve people’s cognitive function and mental well-being, according to a new study.

The data, published in February by researchers from UCL and University of Reading showed that the use of electric bikes can be tied to improved thought clarity, increased reaction times, and mental well-being.

Progress of subjects and results were judged through the use of traditional psychological tests such as the Stroop task, which involves users being presented with a colour word written in an ink colour that does not correspond to it, meaning the user has to name the colour of the word rather than the written word.

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Results of the study took many of the researchers by surprise – the test subjects who had been using the electric bikes had a greater improvement in brain function and mental well-being than the subjects who had not been using the electric bikes.

The research noted that by riding an electric bike, a ‘halo’ effect for older users was observed, branching into benefits that reach beyond ones directly associated with increased physical exercise.

Lead researcher, Dr Louise-Ann Leyland, said: “It is really encouraging that this research suggests older adults’ cognitive function can be improved.

“We found that some aspects of mental health and well-being increased in participants who cycled on an electric bike for an hour and a half a week for an eight-week period, compared to those who hadn’t used the electric bike.”

Elliott Kirk, brand manager at manufacturer, Raleigh Bikes, said: “Our love for electric bikes has grown and grown over the last few years, so it’s great to see studies such as this, that reinforce all of the benefits that they can bring.

“It doesn’t come as too much of a surprise to see that they improve mental wellbeing.”

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Joe Peskett

The author Joe Peskett

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