Disease Proof

Cyclists May Have More Osteoporosis

You’ve probably heard it before. Exercise is really good for your bones. It makes them stronger. But a new study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise claims cyclists were 2.5 to 3 times more likely to develop osteoporosis or near-osteoporosis. However, biker riders did have less body fat and more muscle. Adding running or weight lifting to a workout can help stimulate the bones and keep them strong; via KiroTV.

In other news, the osteoporosis drug Fosamax has been linked to esophageal cancer. And, getting plenty of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is a great way to keep bones strong and healthy. So is using a weighted vest.

Image credit: semuthutan

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Hobnob Blog - January 19, 2009 7:15 AM
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A Guy In New York - January 19, 2009 7:16 AM
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Comments (8) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Steve - January 18, 2009 9:41 AM

Hi Gerry
OK I am confused now. The article abstract suggests that both endurance running and cycling dramatically reduce bone density. So if you don't do any of this stuff you will have healthier bones? I have trouble believing this.
Steve

Gerry Pugliese - January 18, 2009 10:02 AM

Hey Steve-

Don't quote me on this. But, what I take away from this is, vary your workout. Do cardio and weight training.

And of course, eat healthfully.

Peace.
-Gerry

Steve - January 18, 2009 10:24 AM

Hi Gerry
Yeah this may be another example of 'athletic not the same as healthy'. A large amount of endurance exercise will increase calorie needs, which will tend to pull one towards higher calorie (and lower nutrient density) food.

I guess the question I have is are the bones stronger? if mineral density is lower, does that equate to less absolute mineral, or more "other stuff" in the bones?

I cycled about 120 hours total in 2008 at about 11 mph average, so I guess that is not too extreme. I will just make sure my winter weight training carries over more into the warm weather.

Cheers, Steve

Foodaroo - January 18, 2009 4:13 PM

It's easy to see why. As cyclists cycle away, they are building actin and myosin, which require lots of calcium. When they run out of calcium, those osteoclasts will "dig" into the bones.

But, I don't think this just applies to cyclists. Body builders are just as likely to develop osteoporosis.

Sara - January 18, 2009 6:38 PM

So maybe they should eat more of the vegetables that are high in calcium, couldn't hurt.

Terry - January 18, 2009 8:24 PM

I can definitely see this as being true. You're not getting a full body workout bike cycling, and typically your posture isn't the greatest while doing so.

I like to do a varied workout over about an hour. Basically what it consists of is I start off by running for 15 minutes. I take a 5 minute break of cardio and instead do core exercises. Then I ride the bike for another 15 minutes. Take a break and do another 5 minutes of core exercises. Then I do the glide machine for 15 more minutes, and finally end up with doing 5 minutes of as many pushups as I can do. I try to do this every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday and Thursday are saved for a full body assault on the weight machines.

Saturday, if I ever make to the gym, and usually I don't, I'll swim and then hit the hot tub.

Yanina - January 19, 2009 10:07 AM

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Jordy - April 22, 2011 2:55 AM

I ride 30 km + almost every day, and have read several articles on this issue of bone density. I do find it hard to believe that a cyclist will have lower bone density that a sedentary control group, unless perhaps the cyclist is not keeping up on nutrition and calorie needs. Unless you are just coasting along, cycling does put quite a bit of torque on the body, in a similar way to weight lifting; even my arms are very stong, just from holding on... I figure that if my legs are almost as big as my waist, and they have never snapped in all my many years, that my bones must be pretty strong.
I suppose including some higher impact activity would be a good idea, but running may cause more harm that good, in my opinion.

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