Gardening, cycling may help ‘fight off’ genetic risk of Type 2 diabetes

Last Updated on June 6, 2023 by

Sydney, June 6 (IANS) Indulging in moderate-to vigorous-intensity physical activity like gardening, dancing, cycling could lower the risk of Type-2 diabetes, even in people with a high genetic risk of developing the medical condition, new research has revealed.

The study led by a team at the University of Sydney in Australia showed that more than an hour of moderate-to vigorous-intensity physical activity per day was associated with a 74 per cent lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes when compared with participants who did less than 5 minutes of physical activity.

This was even when other factors, including genetic risk, were accounted for.

The findings, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, demonstrates that higher levels of physical activity should be promoted as a major strategy for Type-2 diabetes prevention, which affects more than 537 million people globally, the researchers said.

“We are unable to control our genetic risk and family history, but this finding provides promising and positive news that through an active lifestyle, one can ‘fight off’ much of the excessive risk for Type-2 diabetes,” said Melody Ding, Associate Professor from the varsity’s Charles Perkins Centre and the Faculty of Medicine and Health.

Ding said moderate-intensity physical activity describes movements that get you sweating and slightly out of breath, such as brisk walking and general gardening.

Examples of vigorous-intensity physical activity include running, aerobic dancing, cycling uphill or at a fast pace and heavy gardening such as digging – all activities that make you out of breath or cause you to breathe heavily.

The team involved 59,325 adults from the UK Biobank, who wore accelerometers (activity trackers worn on their wrist) at the start of the study and were then followed for up to seven years to track health outcomes.

People with a high genetic risk score had 2.4 times the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes when compared with those with a low genetic risk score.

Further, the study showed that participants with a high genetic risk, but who were in the most physically active category, actually had a lower risk of developing Type-2 diabetes when compared with those with a low genetic risk but in the least active category.

–IANS

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