Cycling and bone health

pwa
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Cycling and bone health

Postby pwa » 19 Jul 2019, 9:16am

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-48839658

This article tells the story of a 28 year old female pro cyclist (Dani Rowe) who moved over to running and developed stress fractures because her bones, while of normal density, were not used to repeated impact. This is a new one on me.

The message seems to be, if you do loads of cycling make sure you also include some hiking or jogging.

softlips
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby softlips » 19 Jul 2019, 9:37am

It has been known about for many years - osteopenia was the reason Chris Boardman retired early.

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Cugel
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby Cugel » 19 Jul 2019, 9:40am

pwa wrote:https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-48839658

This article tells the story of a 28 year old female pro cyclist (Dani Rowe) who moved over to running and developed stress fractures because her bones, while of normal density, were not used to repeated impact. This is a new one on me.

The message seems to be, if you do loads of cycling make sure you also include some hiking or jogging.


Interesting. It underlines the error of talking about "being fit" as some sort of generic condition that means "fit for anything". There is no such condition of fitness. We're always fit for a small range of very specific things, with such specific fitnesses having some, but often not much, crossover into other activities.

Marathon runners are not really fit to box or do power-lifting, to take an obvious example. They might, though, be pretty fit for cycling - at least in terms of their aerobic capacity and muscle/sinew/nerve development of legs. But they won't be fit to read the road or to perform many other cycling skills necessary if one is to be "a fit cyclist". I know two ex-runners who are exceedingly fit and can go faster than me - until they fall off, which they do with a worrying regularity.

Archery is an interesting example. The club I used to be in once attracted a small cache of body-builder lads, who assumed their immense musculature would mean they could draw bows of immense pull, shooting arrows nearly to the moon. In practice they did have strength but not well-oriented at pulling heavy bow-weighs. All of them developed a set of various back strains in the first week.

Cugel

pwa
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby pwa » 19 Jul 2019, 9:44am

softlips wrote:It has been known about for many years - osteopenia was the reason Chris Boardman retired early.

I'm not sure what osteopenia is, but this wasn't about bone density as such. It seems to be about the make-up of what was in the bones.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 19 Jul 2019, 9:55am

Hi,
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osteopenia

"In particular, the condition is often noted in young female athletes. It is one of the three major components of female athlete triad syndrome, along with amenorrhea and disordered eating. Female athletes tend to have lower body weight, lower fat percentage, and higher incidence of asthma than their less active peers. A chronic negative energy balance can suppress estrogen levels and decrease bone mineral density.[7]"

On the treadmill last night, 4 mile an hour walking 6 mile an hour jogging up to 10% gradients.
I'll try to get interleave The treadmill between cycle training days.
Plenty of manual labour in my life lifting and carrying.
Marathons and plenty of 30 to 45 mile days carrying a third of my body weight On my back :?
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softlips
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby softlips » 19 Jul 2019, 10:03am

pwa wrote:
softlips wrote:It has been known about for many years - osteopenia was the reason Chris Boardman retired early.

I'm not sure what osteopenia is, but this wasn't about bone density as such. It seems to be about the make-up of what was in the bones.


Simply put it’s the stage before osteoporosis.

PDQ Mobile
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby PDQ Mobile » 19 Jul 2019, 10:05am

pwa wrote:https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-48839658

This article tells the story of a 28 year old female pro cyclist (Dani Rowe) who moved over to running and developed stress fractures because her bones, while of normal density, were not used to repeated impact. This is a new one on me.

The message seems to be, if you do loads of cycling make sure you also include some hiking or jogging.


Yes.
I read many moons ago that bones strengthen in response to being stressed (does the psyche? :shock: ), so that as you say, hiking especially with the additional weight of a rucksack is beneficial.
Also short term stressing such as jumping down from stiles or walls is especially good.

And then there's manual labour!

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bigjim
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby bigjim » 20 Jul 2019, 2:46pm

I read that Boardman's problem was due to his genetics and too may hours in the saddle did not do him any favours. He has since taken up running in order to increase bone density.
Nothing left to prove.

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531colin
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby 531colin » 20 Jul 2019, 3:59pm

NATURAL ANKLING wrote:Hi,
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osteopenia
"In particular, the condition is often noted in young female athletes. It is one of the three major components of female athlete triad syndrome, along with amenorrhea and disordered eating. Female athletes tend to have lower body weight, lower fat percentage, and higher incidence of asthma than their less active peers. A chronic negative energy balance can suppress estrogen levels and decrease bone mineral density.[7]"…..

Well, yes, but "a chronic negative energy balance" isn't what you get from cycling to work or a Sunday run.....its actually starvation.
Amenorrhea is a feature of starvation, and there are good evolutionary advantages.... females are more likely to survive poor food availability than if they were regularly losing blood, and also they won't get pregnant when food availability is too poor to sustain the pregnancy, birth, lactation.
Low oestrogen levels do result in low bone density, most commonly post menopause.

Runners get stress fractures, what sport should they take up?

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 20 Jul 2019, 6:11pm

Hi,
Don't know the answers to all your questions 531colin.
I would say for runners at less than athletic standard, that's amateur, technique and poor shoe selection would be where I start.
Running on concrete / roads does not help.
Long distance walkers can also suffer from stress fractures but you would probably need to do its for weeks. Merrel coast Britain.
of all I have done, walking with a ruck sack probably gives most foot pain, after 3 days your feet sing :)
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hercule
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby hercule » 20 Jul 2019, 7:46pm

531colin wrote:Runners get stress fractures, what sport should they take up?


Having struggled with a dodgy knee for the last nine months (running *not* the cause, it was moving a 90kg concrete slab!), I have found it: kick biking. All the effort of running with none of the impact. It’s very like cross country skiing in fact for a whole body workout. It’s made a big difference in a relatively short time.

IMG_1739.jpg

brynpoeth
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby brynpoeth » 20 Jul 2019, 8:19pm

+1 for kick biking, looking forward to reading more about your exploits
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The utility cyclist
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby The utility cyclist » 21 Jul 2019, 2:35am

If you check the actual bone density issue of the general population against that for genuinely 'underweight' professional cyclists whom this might effect then you'll not actually find that big a difference. Bearing also in mind that maximum bone density in most people may not arise until your early 30s anyway.
We had this discussion on Road CC a while back and I dug out some of the research papers. Tests to 'prove' pro cyclists had low bone density was based upon a very very small sample (26 in fact), also it didn't track the bone density post season to see what the effects of cycling had compared to the pre season testing.

"The modifiable risk factors for osteopenia and osteoporosis in adults aged 60 years or older are immobility (lack of physical activity/exercise), low body mass index (BMI), use of steroids, smoking, excessive alcohol drinking, low calcium consumption, low sunlight exposure, and use of antidepressants and antacids"

So, this tells us that firstly cycling is a good thing as it's a modifiable risk factor to avoid low bone density, most cyclists don't smoke, I would think most don't go on benders/drink excessively either, low sunlight exposure is clearly another thing people riding bikes don't suffer from compared to general populations and as we know cycling is a great way to avoid depression and has a real benefit for mental health.

In one of the studies the males were overweight/very high BMI to the rate of around 50% of the total numbers, the researchers noted that this alone had an influence on the bone density however the risks for other health problems arising from obesity massively outweigh that to having low bone density by a very large factor.
Read and digest statements made from the report by https://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2735169
"They found that cyclists had lower BMD at all body sites than weightlifters, but no differences were observed with other sports or with controls [19]. "

"Subsequent studies reinforced the finding that no differences in BMC or BMD were observed between cyclists and controls, in both males and females..."

"The two studies by Duncan et al. showed no differences in BMD between cyclists and controls..."

"Cycling is considered to be a highly beneficial sport for significantly enhancing cardiovascular fitness in individuals, yet studies show little or no corresponding improvements in bone mass."

"Using MRI, Duncan et al. found that female adolescent cyclists had lower bone cross-sectional area, moment of inertia and mid-femur vBMD than their runner counterparts, while no differences were observed with controls..."

"From our comprehensive survey of the current available literature it can be concluded that road cycling does not appear to confer any significant osteogenic benefit."

"In conclusion, road cycling at a competitive level is less effective at improving bone mass when compared with weight-bearing sports."

Basically, carry on cycling, you're not at greater risk of bone density issues compared to ordinary folk!

fastpedaller
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby fastpedaller » 21 Jul 2019, 8:58am

Some interesting discussions above. A local runner said to me "people say running will damage the joints more than cycling, - but at least running is natural" so wouldn't be expected to cause damage. He has a point (and he isn't anti-cycling).

brynpoeth
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby brynpoeth » 21 Jul 2019, 9:45am

Personkind evolved to run in barefeet or with shoes of hide, but not to live much more than 30-40 years
Did personkind evolve to swim, although the Lord didnae give us flippers?
Cycling is the solution :wink:
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