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Cycling vs. Walking: Which Is the Better Workout for Diabetes?
Exercise is an important component in reducing your blood sugar and making your body more sensitive to insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar). Aerobic exercises (exercises that increase one’s heart rate and the body’s oxygen consumption) are a vital component to maintaining your health and wellbeing. Cycling and walking are good options for aerobic activity which can be safely adopted by people with diabetes. They are both low impact activities that can be performed either indoors or outdoors, irrespective of the weather. However, cost, interest, and ease of performance may be a factor when choosing between these two options.
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Benefits of Cycling for People with Diabetes
If you have wondered about cycling vs walking for diabetes, or whether cycling is as good as walking, let us first consider the benefits of cycling. Cycling can be done either at your own pace or by gradually increasing your pace to improve your aerobic endurance while carefully managing your blood sugar. Some benefits of cycling for people with diabetes are as follows.
- Regular cycling helps utilise blood sugar, which prevents diabetes.
- Riding around 3 miles a day can help reduce your risk of heart disease by 50%.
- If you have diabetes, cycling regularly can help prevent heart-related complications.
- Cycling improves your heart’s pumping action, thus lowering blood pressure, lowering obesity, and reducing complications associated with type 2 diabetes.
- Cycling also helps improve blood circulation to your extremities, thus reducing nerve and blood vessel damage over time.
- Cycling promotes muscle building, which is essential to regulating your blood sugar levels.
- Cycling also increases bone density, reducing the risk of fractures in people with type 2 diabetes.
Benefits of Walking for People with Diabetes
So far, we have seen whether riding a bicycle is good for people with diabetes by enumerating the benefits. Though cycling has several benefits, as seen above, you may wonder whether walking or cycling is better for people with diabetes. The following benefits of walking are seen in people with diabetes.
- Walking helps your body utilise glucose (sugar) as energy, thus controlling blood sugar.
- Walking helps in sustaining weight loss, thus helping in weight management.
- Walking helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, thus reducing your risk for heart disease.
- Walking helps people with diabetes improve their mood and relieve stress as it releases endorphins (feel-good hormones).
- Walking aids in providing you with better sleep, which in turn helps control your blood sugar better.
- Walking helps prevent complications in people with type 2 diabetes due to better blood sugar control with exercise.
- If you have joint issues, walking is easy on your joints.
Also read about how to cure diabetes permanently.
What are the Benefits got for Diabetes from Walking & Cycling?
If you have wondered whether cycling is better than walking or whether walking can cure diabetes, this part will explain the benefits of both, so that you can make an informed decision. An individual with diabetes faces major risks of complications, including poor circulation.
Exercise improves blood circulation, thus preventing complications and improving heart health. Research has shown that when cycling and walking were compared for individuals with type 2 diabetes, it was seen that cycling has less impact on the feet and lowers blood pressure levels more than walking. Thus, cycling can be used to control blood sugar spikes.
Cycling also burns more calories than walking. So, it is a good way to lose weight. Though cycling and walking use similar muscles to move, cycling works the muscles harder. However, when comparing both activities to fat burning, it is seen that walking burns more fat than cycling, as it is more weight-bearing. Also, if you have any injuries, both cycling and walking are beneficial, as they are low impact activities. So, choose the activity that you are most comfortable with. Moreover, as a person with diabetes, cycling vs. walking, the best exercise is one that you can do regularly. While both are extremely beneficial, keep in mind that the more intense the exercise, the better. Whichever exercise you choose, walking or cycling, you need to keep in mind the following points.
- Get your doctor’s consent before beginning any exercise.
- Check your blood sugar before beginning the exercise and monitor it throughout the workout.
- Always carry a small carbohydrate snack, to combat a sudden fall in your blood sugar levels.
- Begin exercising for a shorter duration before increasing it to 30 minutes of exercise per day.
- Drink water and remain hydrated before, during, and after exercise.
- Work out with a friend or carry your diabetes identification card in case of emergencies like sudden low blood sugar levels.
The above discussion will help clarify the question-cycling vs walking, which one should people with diabetes choose? Individuals with diabetes need to control their blood sugar levels and prevent complications associated with diabetes. Both cycling and walking help in this. Cycling and walking both have their own benefits for people with diabetes. Both help manage your diabetes and improve your overall health. Though both are important for your heart health and in preventing diabetes-related complications, they differ in certain ways in which they impact your body. However, whichever one you choose, remember to stay safe, minimise your injury, be consistent, and have fun while meeting your fitness and diabetes goals!
Does Cycling Reduce Blood Sugar?
Cycling expends energy and so helps you reduce your blood sugar.
Is Cycling as Good as walking?
Both have their own merits. While cycling helps to burn more calories and works muscles more, walking helps burn more fat.
Is riding a bicycle good for people with diabetes?
Riding a bicycle helps you lose calories, increases your heart rate, helps in blood sugar control, and is easy on the joints and feet. So, riding a bicycle is good for people with diabetes.
Can walking cure Diabetes?
Walking helps to lower your blood sugar levels, thus aiding in controlling it. So, it's a great way to control diabetes and prevent complications associated with diabetes.
This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.