Cutting the risk of diabetes

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The idea that exercise can cut the risk of developing diabetes is well-established – regular activity doesn’t just improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, it also keeps body fat in check, high levels of which are a key risk factor for diabetes.

But a study from the Harvard School of Public Health shows that adding a few weights to your bike workouts could slash your risk even further.

In the study, researchers tracked the exercise habits of over 30,000 healthy men aged 40-75 between 1990-2008, looking at time spent in various activities, as well as changes in body weight, smoking and diet. During the study period, medical records tracked new diagnoses of diabetes.

After adjusting for lifestyle factors and aerobic activity, the researchers found that 150 minutes of weight training per week reduced the risk of developing type-2 diabetes by over a third. The greatest reduction however, came from a combination of aerobic and resistance training, with 150 minutes of mixed activity slashing risk by up to 59 per cent.

Weight training is nothing new to cyclists – it helps build a strong core, reducing the chance of injury, as well as helping combat the onset of osteoporosis, a fragile bone disease, which many cyclists suffer from.

But with this new research showing its importance for health, resistance training is something we should all try to include in our training plans.


What do you think?

With new research stating that resistance training can help significantly lower the risk of diabetes – not to mention the positive effect it has on strengthening the body and reducing injuries – should more cyclists be incorporating weight training into their weekly training plan?

James Baggott
A gym ball and your own bodyweight will do the job. Plus beer resistance is always worth a crack. Although I fail at that badly.

Stephen Jefferies
Yes, main reason being that I want to see if it makes me faster on the bike.

Jack Gaving
I think weights should be part of every cyclist’s training plan. It makes the whole body stronger, which is only a good thing.

Mike Humphries
Can’t see the point in it myself. It’s the legs that turn the pedals.