Friday, February 27, 2009

Cycling and Bone Density

We've all heard that cyclists are prone to osteoporosis and that cycling weakens bones. Well, to borrow a quote: "I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that." First, although a study in 2000 from the American College of Sports Medicine did find that bicycle riders have bones that are less dense than people who don't exercise at all, bone density tests do not necessarily measure bone strength. Now, a more recent study from Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK compared bone measures of sprint and distance trained cyclists competing at World Master Track Championships along with sedentary controls (30-82 yr) and examined the associations of bone measures with age. The study showed that long distance cyclists have denser bones than sedentary control subjects and that sprint cyclists have denser bones than long distance cyclists (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, March 2009). The abstract of the paper concludes: "This suggests that competition-based cycling and the associated training regime is beneficial in preserving average or above-average bone strength surrogates into old age in men."

So we got that going for us, which is nice...

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