If you are a person who is dealing with diabetes, it might be difficult for you to navigate the world of physical activity. Diabetes is a disease wherein a person’s body lacks the function of producing insulin (link to Wikipedia on diabetes), cannot correctly use its insulin or is resistant to insulin.
The importance of insulin, which is produced in the pancreas, is that it regulates your blood sugar and turns it into energy. It’s important to be regulated in order for the organs and body to function normally. However, when blood sugar is too high due to insulin not being regulated properly – which is the issue when one is diabetic – it can result in various bodily damage, with the most common complications being kidney disease, eye disease, heart attack, and foot and leg issues.
Thus, diabetes patients either have to rely on medication, insulin injections, or in the best-case scenario, regular exercise, and diet. Of course, this depends on what type of diabetes you have (Type I, Type II, or gestational) and how serious it is. People with Type I diabetes are typically born with it, whereas Type II is often developed.
So, is an e-bike riding activity a viable option for people with diabetes? More importantly, can it be of any help for people dealing with this disease? As a form of physical exercise, riding an e-bike would be a viable option and can help with diabetes. This is achieved through regular and mild forms of exercise, such as using an electric bicycle.
This article will predominantly discuss how riding an electric bicycle can benefit people who have developed Type II diabetes.
Regular e-bike riding can help you lose weight
Looking good is just the cherry on top: there are many more pressing aspects as to why it’s so important to lose or maintain a healthy weight when you’re a diabetes patient.
One of the most major risk/contributing factors for diabetes is being overweight or obese, and this often comes hand-in-hand with not having a regular exercise routine. Therefore, losing or maintaining a healthy weight is essential to the fight against diabetes. While relying on medication when prescribed is certainly important, it should always be paired with a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercise and a good diet.
Being physically active on a regular basis helps to break down and manage your blood sugar, which is the main issue for people dealing with diabetes. When caught early, Type II diabetes can be controlled and even reversed by exercise and diet. In fact, weight loss – particularly if it’s on a significant scale – is one of the main contributing factors that can help Type II patients achieve remission or get to a non-diabetic state.
However, the main issue for most people with diabetes is finding a long-term, sustainable and reliable form of exercise. The diabetes population is known for being less active than non-diabetic patients, but it’s not due to laziness: the result of diabetes can often be lethargy, and thus there’s a significant lack of motivation to be physically active.
So, it’s about finding an accessible form of exercise to make for a consistent regimen. It’s precisely the easy-to-use nature of e-Bikes that make it such a popular option, not just amongst people with diabetes but people of all ages dealing with all sorts of physical ailments.
Achieving remission is linked to the fact that diabetic patients can either reverse or steady their blood sugar levels (also known as HbA1c) to be out of the diabetic range. The increased level of fitness, through e-bike riding, has been known to increase cardiometabolic factors. This is because e-bike riding is a cardio-heavy sport, which means you can help regulate your heart rate while riding an electric bicycle, which leads to healthier glucose tolerance.
It’s easy to incorporate into your routine
E-bikes continue to be one of the most accessible forms of cardio exercise one can get, considered to be much easier to use than traditional bicycles because of their pedal-assist nature (made possible through an electric motor and battery). In fact, it is one of the leading forms of exercise prescribed to people dealing with all kinds of limitations and illnesses and is even ideal for elderly people.
Riding an e-bike requires less manual effort than traditional bicycles, all while still providing more intense cardio and full-body exercise than walking (depending on the level of assistance you choose, your workout can range from light to intense).
It’s a low-impact sport, which means there is less strain and pressure on your feet and legs when e-bike riding than with many other exercises. This is particularly important for diabetes patients, as the nerves in the feet and legs are often affected – and sometimes damaged – by the disease.
Not only that, but e-bike riders have noted that it’s fun to use. E-Bikes encourage more frequent exercise, particularly if you are reintroducing yourself to a regular physical routine. Though you still have to use manual effort to pedal an e-Bike, the human power combined with electric power makes for a fast and easy ride that can be incorporated into your everyday life. It is precisely these factors that make e-Bikes one of the best and most prescribed exercise options for people dealing with diabetes.
Read also: Can I ride an electric bicycle with knee problems or arthritis? And, Can I ride an electric bicycle with sciatica?
In fact, e-bike riding can become your main or secondary form of commuting, a great option for people who have a busy schedule or who find it hard to schedule in exercise otherwise. Another factor is that the fear of “overdoing” it or pushing yourself too hard is diminished when riding an e-Bike since you can adjust the level of intensity whenever you’d like. This makes e-Bikes a top option for long-term exercise.
In various studies, it has been found that the fitness levels in people with diabetes who have been regularly riding e-Bikes have overall improved with a large amount of weight loss in tow. Cycling also tends to show more benefits than walking: the higher intensity of cycling leads to a higher percentage of increased fitness and therefore is more effective for your metabolic health.
If hills and uneven terrain are daunting for you, e-bikes are a great option in that regard too. E-Bike riders tend to note that rough landscapes are a non-issue because of the bike’s motorized nature. It’s also easier to stop and go with an e-Bike, making it safer and more foolproof to use for those who are not comfortable with the idea of riding a traditional bicycle.
It’s the removal of these major barriers that are most associated with bicycles that make e-bike riding such a great, easy, and accessible option for people dealing with diabetes. Even if you don’t want to rely on e-bike riding as your main source of exercise, it’s a great way to get back into the routine and work your way up to other forms of physical activity.
Many studies have shown that people with diabetes who have been introduced to e-Bikes have even bought their own e-Bike even after studies were over, showing a pronounced enthusiasm for riding. It’s a popular form of exercise that not only motivates people to get outside and be active, but to have fun while doing it.
Other related benefits of e-bike riding
Keeping your blood pressure in the target range is imperative when you’re dealing with diabetes. Since cycling is an exercise that predominantly benefits your cardiovascular health, this means that riding an e-bike regularly will help improve your circulation and thus help regulate and improve your blood pressure. Though walking is a great exercise as well, doing it alone is too sedentary to make a significant difference.
Riding your e-Bike, and exercise in general is also a great form of stress relief. Not surprisingly, stress is a factor that you should try to eliminate as much as possible when dealing with diabetes, as stress can play a negative role in your illness. Regular exercise can also help lower the risk of developing other diseases, ensuring that you’re living your life as healthily as possible.
Though more extensive scientific study needs to be done when discussing the effects of e-bike riding on diabetes patients, the results thus far have been extremely encouraging and positive, with no negative effects in sight.
Ultimately, e-bike riding is an enjoyable way to exercise, can contribute to weight loss, can be incorporated into your regular routine easily, and benefits your whole body as well as regulating all the bodily functions necessary in managing your diabetes. If you’re having trouble getting into the routine of consistent exercise, consider getting an e-Bike – it has the potential to improve the quality of your life in a big way.
Read also: Guidance for riding an electric bicycle with certain health conditions. And, Most common e-bike riding pains, how to prevent and cure.