The Holsworth Research Initiative Human Performance stream aims to improve human function in exercise and sports tasks, with a focus on developing interventions that optimise the performance of various populations during physical activity. Co-led by Dr Rodrigo Bini and Dr Daniel Wundersitz, the Human Performance stream consists of the following projects;
# How does sport participation contribute to total physical activity, health, function and wellbeing in regional Victoria?
# The effect of endurance exercise on cardiovascular function and movement efficiency in community level cycling
# Efficacy of e-Bike use for improving health and function
Efficacy of e-Bike use for improving health and function
The benefits of active travel, and cycling, on health have been well researched with a recent systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrating the lowest risk of CVD mortality with 130 minutes per week of cycling at an average, self-selected pace (Zhao et al., 2021). In terms of e-biking, studies have reported that e-biking enables people to achieve moderate levels of physical activity (Sperlich et al., 2012) in addition to reducing travel time when compared to push bikes (Fishman & Cherry, 2016) however, the impacts on health are less clear.
Led by Dr Rodrigo Bini, the E-biking for Human Health project incorporates three individual studies that aim to assess the efficacy of e-bike use for improving health and function in sedentary people. The project consists of an observational study identifying if current health and functional status impacts e-bike uptake in sedentary people as well as an intervention study that will assess changes in physical fitness following a short, unsupervised e-bike aerobic training program. A final randomised control study will build on these research outcomes by comparing the differences between e-bikes, walking and education in health and fitness outcomes of sedentary people.
Three e-bikes were purchased by the Holsworth Research Initiative for the project in mid-2022. This enabled pilot trials to commence followed by participant recruitment and subsequent data collection. Participants were required to attend La Trobe University Bendigo campus for physical fitness and health assessments as well as a series of familiarity trials before being provided with an e-bike for use for a period of four weeks. Data collection is almost complete with the remaining three participants currently completing their four-week block of unsupervised aerobic training. Following this, analysis of the data will take place and a draft manuscript will be prepared. The expected project completion date for both study one and two is January 2024. The final study in the E-biking for Human Health project is contingent on external funding with a projected start date of January 2024.
We are so pleased to be contributing to the literature on e-biking for human health and can’t wait to report on the findings of these studies in 2024.
Zhao, Y., Hu, F., Feng, Y., Yang, X., Li, Y., Guo, C., … & Hu, D. (2021). Association of Cycling with Risk of All-Cause and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality: A Systematic Review and Dose–Response Meta-analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. Sports Medicine, 51, 1439-1448.
Fishman, E., and C. Cherry. 2016. E-bikes in the Mainstream: Reviewing a Decade of Research. Transport Reviews 36: 72–91.
Sperlich, B., C. Zinner, K. Hebert-Losier, D.P. Born, and H.C. Holmberg. 2012. Biomechanical, Cardiorespiratory, Metabolic and Perceived Responses to Electrically Assisted Cycling. European Journal of Applied Physiology 112: 4015–4025.