Pedal away your worries: Cycling can help cut risk of type 2 diabetes

  • AFP, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 14, 2016 15:02 IST
The more you cycle each week, the lower is the risk of you getting type 2 diabetes, say researchers. (Shutterstock)

Scientists have found another reason for you to take up cycling again. Turns out, regular cycling can cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Carried out by the University of Southern Denmark, the study looked at 24,623 men and 27,890 women from Denmark falling in the age group of 50 to 65 years.

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Participants were asked to report their cycling habits, including the distance cycled to and from work and for fun. The data was then compared with the incidence of type 2 diabetes measured in the Danish National Diabetes Registry.

The results showed that those who cycled regularly were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and the more they cycled each week, the lower the risk was.

Cycling improves cardiovascular fitness, lowers the risk of obesity, and ensures better sleep. (Istock)

After re-assessing participants’ cycling habits during the five-year follow-up, it was also found that those who took up habitual cycling, benefited from a 20% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes at a later age than non-cyclists.

Lead author of the study Dr. Martin Rasmussen said, “Those who started cycling had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, given that the people studied were of middle and old age. This emphasizes that it is not too late to take up cycling to lower one’s risk of chronic disease even in old age.”

Read: Mumbai’s biking communities are making the bicycle popular again

However, cycling is already known for its many health benefits, including improved cardiovascular fitness, a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, a lower risk of obesity, and even better sleep. The findings only add to the list of health benefits that cycling offers, even later in life.

The results also provide further evidence and support for the development of programs to encourage cycling, with Dr Rasmussen adding, “Because cycling can be included in everyday activities, it may be appealing to a large part of the population. This includes people who due to lack of time, would not otherwise have the resources to engage in physical activity.”

The study can be found published online in PLOS Medicine.

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