Home / Therapies / Physical Activity / Bike to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Bike to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Oct 1, 2016

What if your patient’s  mode of transportation could help to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease? What if an enjoyable daily health habit could help them avoid these chronic lifestyle-related diseases?

An e-Bike is a bike that helps you pedal, based on the effort you want to exert.  Imagine having the ability to provide more power to your pedaling whenever you wanted or needed it. E-Bikes are very popular in Europe, are just getting noticed here in the United States.  The e-Bike comes with a rechargeable battery that provides pedal assistance whenever you want it.


Dave Joffe, our editor, and I just attended the InterBike show in Las Vegas for 5 days.  They had over 1500 displays of bicycles and bicycle products and thousands of bicycle shop owners.  We stopped and looked at almost 100 electric bikes.  We got to ride many of them.  This new way to ride a bike will allow those older adults with diabetes to get back to what they did when they were younger without many of the fears associated with riding a bike.  These fears include falling off the bike, not having the strength to get over a bridge or the fear of going too far and being able to get home again.

I had an opportunity to try one of these new bikes over a 2 month period and took it on some longer rides of 30-50 miles I found I was able to keep my heart rate in my target range when using electric power. I was able to go as fast as when I was 30 and that made me feel really good. I loved passing up people 30 years younger than me. When I got home after riding 40 miles, I felt as if I could do another ride, and that has never happened before.

Getting outdoors and exercising is fantastic, especially when you can exercise as if you were 20-30 years younger.  Finding something you love to do and have it improve your quality of life is exciting. Not all e-Bikes are the same, and so you to need to find the right e-Bike that you can feel secure on.  The LifeBike, the one I used, worked great for me as it has extra support, a larger seat, no gear shifting and was designed by a sports medicine doctor.

A new study says that biking to work or as a recreational pastime is associated with a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and many other studies show that you can also reduce your risk for many other diseases.

The study published in PLOS Medicine Journal included 24,623 men and 27,890 women in Denmark, recruited between the ages of 50 and 65. They were asked to self-report about biking habits, recreationally and as a method of transportation to work. The data was collected in the Danish National Database Registry.

The authors of the study found that participants who were “habitual cyclers” were less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes and the risk fell even lower, the more hours spent cycling per week. Five years after the initial information was collected, participants were contacted for follow up. Cycling habits were reassessed. People who had now taken up habitual cycling had a 20% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, compared to non-cyclers.

Researchers adjusted for diet, alcohol consumption, smoking habits, physical activity aside from cycling, waist circumference and BMI. Still the findings are robust enough to encourage a habit of cycling, early in life, and then perpetuating it as a means of travel to and from school and work, and as an extra-curricular fitness activity. Making cycling habitual could help to minimize risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

It was also encouraging for the researchers to see that even when cycling was taken up in middle age, it still helped to lower the risk, and the positive health impact was seen in both genders. With childhood and teen obesity rates high, and two thirds of adults in the U.S. overweight or obese, a cycling habit that can easily fit into one’s daily schedule and have an impact on a chronic disease associated with excess weight, could be an easy sell to the general public.

In another study, according to the British Medical Association, cycling just 20 miles a week can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 50%. A major study of 10,000 civil servants suggested that those who cycled 20 miles over the period of a week were half as likely to suffer heart disease as their non-cycling colleagues.

See this week’s New Product, the LifeCycle.

Practice Pearls

  •        Cycling provides a 20% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
  •        Cycling just 20 miles a week can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 50%.
  •        Cycling can improve your quality of life

For more information email: publisher@diabetesincontrol.com

Plos Journal : http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002077