WASHINGTON (Xinhua) – Bicycling, whether as transportation to work or as a recreational activity, may help prevent type 2 diabetes, according to a study published Tuesday in the US journal PLOS Medicine.
In the study, Martin Rasmussen of the University of Southern Denmark and colleagues recruited 24,623 men and 27,890 women aged 50 to 65 in Denmark.
Then, they compared the association between self-reported recreational and commuter cycling habits and type 2 diabetes with the incidence of the disease measured in the Danish National Diabetes Registry.
The researchers found that participants who engaged in cycling were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and risk of developing the disease appeared to decrease with longer time spent cycling per week.
Five years after they were initially recruited, participants were contacted for follow-up and their cycling habits were re-assessed.
The results showed that people who took up habitual cycling during this period were at 20 percent lower risk for type 2 diabetes than non-cyclists.
The findings that cycling activity, and even initiating cycling in late adulthood, may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, support development of programs to encourage habitual cycling, according to the study.
“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,” said Rasmussen.
“We find it especially interesting that those who started cycling had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, given that the study populationwere men and women of middle and old age. This emphasizes that even when entering elderly age, it is not too late to take up cycling to lower one’s risk of chronic disease,” he added.