Recently there has been an increase in studies focused on the question of whether riding an electric scooter is actually an exercise. And a lot of them provided surprising results.
Electric scooters can provide a variety of health benefits. And while they may not seem like a traditional form of exercise, the positive effects on your body by using them in the long term are definitely there, which is why they can be considered a form of light exercise.
In this article, we’ll delve a little deeper into this matter and see why riding an electric scooter can be considered exercise..
What do researchers say?
In general, researchers have come upon two questions that are crucial in determining whether e-scooters can be considered a healthy exercise:
- do injuries occur too often that they outweigh the long-term benefits of e-scooter rides?
- what type of transport does your e-scooter ride replace?
Injuries vs health benefits
Minor injuries may be a part of some avid scooterists’ lives.
They are arguably the biggest problem regarding electric scooters. A fall is almost inevitable to happen during your “career” as a scooterist, and it’s more of a matter of “when?” and “how bad?” instead of “if?”.
A 2021 study conducted by researchers at Gustave Eiffel University, which looks deeper into the health impacts of electric scooters on people’s lives, concludes that around 90% of people “with e-scooter related injuries sustained them while riding”. The study cites losing balance as the major reason for these injuries, but it also emphasizes that “severe injuries and death caused by e-scooters are similarly low as those caused by bikes”.
But that still leaves the question of whether the injuries that you will sustain while riding an electric scooter outweigh the health benefits mentioned earlier in this article.
The best way to counteract this is the easiest and most obvious one – always wear protective gear when you are riding your electric scooter. You should always have your scooter-appropriate helmet on, wear kneepads and elbow protectors, and use gloves for a better grip on the steering wheel.
That way, even if you do have an accident, the injuries you will sustain would be very small and neglectful, and your body can fully focus on the benefits your scooter provides.
Does your e-scooter replace a walk or a car drive?
To see whether a scooter ride has a net positive or negative impact on your health, you have to see whether it replaces a car commute or another, healthier way of travel like walking or riding a bike.
A 2020 study conducted by the Department of Public Health and the College of Life Sciences at Brigham Young University in the city of Provo, Utah, has found some rather interesting answers relating to this particular question. The study focused on the overall impact of e-scooters on the daily life of the residents of Provo.
One of the questions that were posed to the 1070 respondents was “What modes of transportation would they use if e-scooters were not available?”, where 43.5% of the respondents said they would choose to walk, while 28.5% said they would use a vehicle instead.
As it turns out, people are not exactly using e-scooters to replace their cars and bus rides, but rather replace walking to the local stores, or just getting out for a fun ride. While this doesn’t have any negative connotation in itself, it goes to show that a large part of the riders doesn’t see much of the health benefits from e-scooters.
The best way to turn this around is to start using e-scooters as a replacement for your work commutes where you would typically use a vehicle, and keep the other physical commutes like walking to diners and stores in place.
Can an e-scooter ride replace a regular workout?
While riding an electric scooter has quite a few positive effects on both your physical and mental health, it’s in no way a legit replacement for a standard workout.
Going to the gym, or riding a bike will always have a lot more health benefits that riding an e-scooter. But the point is that you can still gain a lot more from using a scooter over a car, a bus, a train, or another mode of transport where you have to expend no effort at all.
It is important to keep an active life and always walk or bike to places when you can. But, since walking or biking to work every day can be quite impractical (you wouldn’t want to be the sweaty colleague in the office), electric scooters are the next healthiest way for these commutes.
Health benefits from riding an electric scooter
In terms of health benefits, electric scooters can never beat classic exercises like gym training, jogs, or bike rides.
But that doesn’t mean that e-scooters have no benefits at all, and that they are the “lazy people’s choice”, as many today think.
Electric scooters have health benefits, and while they won’t help you build muscles, or lose tons of weight, they can still aid in improving your balance and your posture, strengthen your legs and core muscles, and positively impact your mental health.
This one is a bit obvious, but an improved sense of balance overall is one of the biggest positive effects of regular e-scooter rides.
Logically, whenever you ride an e-scooter, you must keep a balance as they only use two wheels to move forward. Many people think this is not a big deal, and that most of the work is done by the scooter itself, but that’s not true.
The rider is the one that keeps the scooter upward. This is especially evident when you’re turning corners, jumping curbs, avoiding bumps and obstacles on the road, making a sudden stop, etc.
Once you get comfortable on your scooter, keeping your balance becomes a thing of habit. You don’t even notice you’re doing it, but it’s still something that your body does, and it’s constantly improving with each ride, even though you aren’t feeling it all the time.
Riding an electric scooter requires you to stand upright and maintain good posture, which can help to train your body to maintain proper alignment even when you’re not on the scooter.
With the way decks and stems are designed, you must stand completely upright, with one foot behind the other, and have your back in a straight line to maintain a good balance. If you do this regularly, every day, you slowly train your body to stand in the same form even when you hop off the scooter.
After all, a good posture is all about training and consistently holding your body straight. In today’s world, where most people have turned to desk jobs and spend their days sitting in one place, it’s crucial to take every bit of physical training you can.
Stronger legs and core muscles
Core muscles are largely considered the main muscle group of your body. They include the whole abdomen and the base portion of your spine.
These muscles work together to hold your body upright, define your physique, and are the central part of the system that holds your posture. That’s why it is extremely important for them to be as strong as possible, as most health problems connected to your spine and stomach come from weakened core muscles.
The best way to strengthen your core muscles, as well as your legs, is by keeping them active throughout the day. Walking, cycling, or even standing are great ways to do that. Electric scooter rides come in handy here as well, as while you are riding your scooter, you are forced to stand on your legs, keep your back straight, and your abdomen activated to keep balance.
Mental health is a big part of health overall.
As work becomes more stressful and drains you from the morning until the afternoon, you must find hobbies that relax your mind and body after an exhausting day.
The fresh air and physical activity of scootering can help reduce this stress and improve your mood by a lot. It can also be a fun and social activity, providing an opportunity to connect with others and take a break from screens and daily responsibilities.
Plus, the convenience and environmental benefits of using an electric scooter instead of a car can boost feelings of accomplishment and sustainability. Not the least, dodging a 40-minute commute while stuck in traffic, and cruising by from work to home in 15-20 minutes instead will feel like a blessing.
How to make your e-scooter ride more health-beneficial?
There are a few general rules you can follow to create a regular form of exercise from your e-scooter rides:
- always wear protective gear (helmet, kneepads, elbow pads, gloves, and other scooter accessories)
- set the stem at the right height so you don’t break your posture
- take it slow and learn the basics of riding an electric scooter so you can avoid accidents and injuries
- try to replace your car commutes with an electric scooter
- just have fun, explore new places, and get the best out of your electric scooter