A new study is weighing-in on the ongoing debate about the health risks of bicycle riding for men.
Researchers have found that cyclists who bike more may face a higher risk of prostate cancer. Previous research has also suggested that bike riding for more than three hours a week boosts the risk of mild to moderate erectile dysfunction.
Of the 498 men in the study, which was published in the Journal of Men’s Health, those who biked the most, 17 said they had prostate cancer (3.5 percent). Of those who biked the least, three out of 511 (0.5 percent) said they had prostate cancer, the findings showed.
Eight percent of the men reported erectile dysfunction problems, although they weren’t more common in men who biked more. The investigators did find links between erectile dysfunction and three factors — high blood pressure, smoking and older age.
The findings aren’t definitive, and they conflict with previous research on impotence and infertility. Other experts pointed to the study’s weaknesses, and lead author Dr. Milo Hollingworth, a research associate at University College London, acknowledged that the findings are “difficult to interpret.”
“Men shouldn’t worry about increasing their risk of prostate cancer by cycling,” he stressed. “Men should cycle as much as they did before. The benefits for your heart, lungs, whole body and mental health are much more important.”
What Can Men Do To Reduce Their Risks?
Doctors recommend that men focus on buying a good bike seat, since bike seats have been implicated in infertility and erectile problems caused by bike riding, and bike seat manufacturers have tried to design better seats.