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Study: How Cycling May Help Reduce Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

Jul 14, 2016 06:23 AM EDT
A new Danish study suggests that people who cycle habitually are 20 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
(Photo : Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A new study revealed that people who rode their bicycle habitually are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to those who do not cycle on daily basis.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, suggests that individuals who started to ride their bike regularly have 20 percent reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who do not practice the habit.

Researchers chose the study the association between cycling and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes because, unlike other aerobic exercise, cycling can be incorporated to daily life.

"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," explained Martin Rasmussen of the University of Southern Denmark, in a statement.

For the study, researchers recruited 24,623 men and 27,890 women aging from 50 to 65. Each participant were asked to self-report their recreational and commuter cycling habits. The researchers then compared the cycling habits of the participants to the incidence of type 2 diabetes measured in the Danish National Diabetes Registry.

The researchers discovered that the participants who reported an habitual cycling were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, with the incidence risk decreasing as they spend more time cycling every week.

After five years of their initial recruitment, participants who took up habitual cycling during this period were 20 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to those participants who did not continue their cycling habit.

Furthermore, researchers were surprised that participants who only started taking up cycling as a hobby during the beginning of their study also had lower risk of having type 2 diabetes. This means that people could take up habitual cycling even at old age and experience the same reduced risk of the chronic disease.

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