Cycling and bone health

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LinusR
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby LinusR » 21 Jul 2019, 11:37am

The BBC report is inaccurate. Nowhere in the study of 40 athletes did it recommend they do skipping or hiking. Instead the report said: "Interventions to increase [bone mineral density] in this population should be considered." These interventions are resistance training (aka weight training or strength training).

The report noted that although many cyclists did strength training during the off-season this was not enough to maintain bone mineral density (BMD) and that the large number of hours riding a bike was having some sort of negative effect on bone health.

It is possible that the large amount of non-weight-bearing training conducted by the athletes in the present study attenuated the osteogenic effect elicited by the resistance training. Most studies documenting a beneficial effect of resistance training on bone mass are longitudinal studies, lasting for minimum 7–12 months, with two to three sessions per week. Usually, cyclists perform strength training during off-season, which is the winter months from October to January. Thus, 2–4 months of strength training might not be sufficient to elicit the bone modelling process.


https://bmjopensem.bmj.com/content/4/1/e000449

The report made reference to previous studies which showed the positive effect of strength training to increase bone mineral density (BMD).

A 1999 study stated: "The research completed to date indicates that resistance training is positively associated with high BMD in both young and older adults and that the effect of resistive exercise is relatively site specific to the working muscles and the bones to which they attach" In other words, hiking and skipping are not going to increase BMD at the wrist, arms and shoulders. But an exercise like a bench press or overhead press will.

"Although aerobic exercise and weight bearing physical activity are important in maintaining overall health and healthy bone, resistance training exercise seems to have a more potent impact on bone density." So skipping and hiking may have beneficial effect on hips and lumbar spine but lifting a weight while standing (such as squat, dead lift and overhead press) will have a greater effect.

https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/1999/01000/The_effects_of_progressive_resistance_training_on.6.aspx

I was diagnosed with osteopenia about 10 years ago (in my mid-40s) after I broke my hip. (My T numbers averaged -1.2 for hip and lumbar spine.) I now do strength training all year round. I also increased my body weight from a relatively skinny 67kg to a more healthy 79kg. I'm 186cms / 6' 1". (A lot of that is fat, by the way.) Comparative scans of my hip and lumbar spine before and after indicate that I have halted the decline in BMD but as yet have not reversed it. I do a programme of four barbell exercises: squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press three times a week. Although during the summer months I am reluctant to go to the gym more than once a week as I'd rather be outside enjoying myself ;)

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby The utility cyclist » 22 Jul 2019, 2:03pm

LinusR wrote:The BBC report is inaccurate. Nowhere in the study of 40 athletes did it recommend they do skipping or hiking. Instead the report said: "Interventions to increase [bone mineral density] in this population should be considered." These interventions are resistance training (aka weight training or strength training).

The report noted that although many cyclists did strength training during the off-season this was not enough to maintain bone mineral density (BMD) and that the large number of hours riding a bike was having some sort of negative effect on bone health.

It is possible that the large amount of non-weight-bearing training conducted by the athletes in the present study attenuated the osteogenic effect elicited by the resistance training. Most studies documenting a beneficial effect of resistance training on bone mass are longitudinal studies, lasting for minimum 7–12 months, with two to three sessions per week. Usually, cyclists perform strength training during off-season, which is the winter months from October to January. Thus, 2–4 months of strength training might not be sufficient to elicit the bone modelling process.


https://bmjopensem.bmj.com/content/4/1/e000449

The report made reference to previous studies which showed the positive effect of strength training to increase bone mineral density (BMD).

A 1999 study stated: "The research completed to date indicates that resistance training is positively associated with high BMD in both young and older adults and that the effect of resistive exercise is relatively site specific to the working muscles and the bones to which they attach" In other words, hiking and skipping are not going to increase BMD at the wrist, arms and shoulders. But an exercise like a bench press or overhead press will.

"Although aerobic exercise and weight bearing physical activity are important in maintaining overall health and healthy bone, resistance training exercise seems to have a more potent impact on bone density." So skipping and hiking may have beneficial effect on hips and lumbar spine but lifting a weight while standing (such as squat, dead lift and overhead press) will have a greater effect.

https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/1999/01000/The_effects_of_progressive_resistance_training_on.6.aspx

I was diagnosed with osteopenia about 10 years ago (in my mid-40s) after I broke my hip. (My T numbers averaged -1.2 for hip and lumbar spine.) I now do strength training all year round. I also increased my body weight from a relatively skinny 67kg to a more healthy 79kg. I'm 186cms / 6' 1". (A lot of that is fat, by the way.) Comparative scans of my hip and lumbar spine before and after indicate that I have halted the decline in BMD but as yet have not reversed it. I do a programme of four barbell exercises: squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press three times a week. Although during the summer months I am reluctant to go to the gym more than once a week as I'd rather be outside enjoying myself ;)


Was this number compared to the to the general population and at same age?
It seems to me the BBC report states that Rowe had a fracture but with normal bone density so wasn't any worse than general population, so clearly whatever Rowe was doing it wasn't any more detrimental despite her non load bearing exercise over a long period. It doesn't mention if she was running properly, built up her running, was wearing the correct hoes, nothing, it sounds like a coincidental occurrence and is a sample of one, basically her injury is anecdotal/meaningless with respect to proving that cycling has a negative effect on bone density compared to general population.

The BBC report does not make it clear what age group the 'research' compared of the 40 athletes which is important, it doesn't state much of anything frankly, it doesn't acknowledge what I mentioned in my previous post about people on bikes actually doing the right things in terms of beneficial to health both physical and mental, sun exposure etc which are deciding factors in bone density.

Even despite Rowe's extreme non load bearing over a very long period of time, it's made precisely ZERO difference to general population and cycling is NOT detrimental to bone density, rather it doesn't improve bone density in isolation. The 'evidence' is weak at best and flawed with big holes/gaps in making correct comparisons IMHO.

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LinusR
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby LinusR » 22 Jul 2019, 9:11pm

Was this number compared to the to the general population and at same age?
It seems to me the BBC report states that Rowe had a fracture but with normal bone density so wasn't any worse than general population, so clearly whatever Rowe was doing it wasn't any more detrimental despite her non load bearing exercise over a long period. It doesn't mention if she was running properly, built up her running, was wearing the correct hoes, nothing, it sounds like a coincidental occurrence and is a sample of one, basically her injury is anecdotal/meaningless with respect to proving that cycling has a negative effect on bone density compared to general population.

The BBC report does not make it clear what age group the 'research' compared of the 40 athletes which is important, it doesn't state much of anything frankly, it doesn't acknowledge what I mentioned in my previous post about people on bikes actually doing the right things in terms of beneficial to health both physical and mental, sun exposure etc which are deciding factors in bone density.




No, BMJ report only compared cyclists and runners. They concluded that the cyclists had lower BMD compared to the runners. The BBC referred to the BMJ report but it wasn't really relevant. As you stated: Rowe had normal bone density. Then the BBC failed to accurately summarise the BMJ report.

Even despite Rowe's extreme non load bearing over a very long period of time, it's made precisely ZERO difference to general population and cycling is NOT detrimental to bone density, rather it doesn't improve bone density in isolation. The 'evidence' is weak at best and flawed with big holes/gaps in making correct comparisons IMHO.


Yes, that's a good summary. In fact my consultant (https://www.uclh.nhs.uk/OurServices/Consultants/Pages/DrHalinaFitzClarence.aspx) told me that in her opinion genetic factors caused my low bone density, not my lifestyle.

Robzere31
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby Robzere31 » 31 Jul 2019, 1:20pm

I was diagnosed with osteopenia (low bone density) back in March this years after breaking my hip in a cycling accident.

The consultant at no point hinted that the osteopenia was due to my cycling or that running was better for me. He did however mention walking would be benificial to my recovery & general bone helth
I did say I am a regular weekend walker, covering several hundered miles a year.

His personal oppinion to the increase of general bone problems within the population is diet, & the lack of calcium & other minerals.
I'm now on calcium tablets, although again I eat what you would concider a well balanced diet, & my calcium intake was good.

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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby whoof » 31 Jul 2019, 2:48pm

Robzere31 wrote:I was diagnosed with osteopenia (low bone density) back in March this years after breaking my hip in a cycling accident.

The consultant at no point hinted that the osteopenia was due to my cycling or that running was better for me. He did however mention walking would be benificial to my recovery & general bone helth
I did say I am a regular weekend walker, covering several hundered miles a year.

His personal oppinion to the increase of general bone problems within the population is diet, & the lack of calcium & other minerals.
I'm now on calcium tablets, although again I eat what you would concider a well balanced diet, & my calcium intake was good.



It's not that cycling cause loss of bone density, in fact the opposite exercise can help to prevent it, it's just weight bearing exercise has been found to be most beneficial.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/osteoporosis/prevention/

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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby al_yrpal » 31 Jul 2019, 6:16pm

My sister in law got stress fractures in her tibias because of excessive jogging. Most of the keen runners I know have ended up with joint damage, usually knees with many expensive knee replacements. My wife had hidden osteoporosis and has lost her mobility because of it. Menopausal women are particularly vulnerabke. Vitamin D and calcium are part of the answer

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. CTC gone but not forgotten!

ratherbeintobago
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby ratherbeintobago » 31 Jul 2019, 7:19pm

I remember this being talked about years ago.

If memory serves, the issue is said to be that road cycling (but not MTB) is not weight-bearing so decreases bone density. However, the BBC article says Rowe’s bone density was monitored throughout her cycling career, so there must be more to it.

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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby whoof » 31 Jul 2019, 9:18pm

ratherbeintobago wrote:I remember this being talked about years ago.

If memory serves, the issue is said to be that road cycling (but not MTB) is not weight-bearing so decreases bone density. However, the BBC article says Rowe’s bone density was monitored throughout her cycling career, so there must be more to it.


As you get older your bone density starts to decrease. One study has said that if all diseases could be prevented there would still be an upper age limit of about 140 as you would sneeze and break you neck.
However there are things that can be done to slow the rate of decrease. one is increase your calcium in take, not smoking and being male also helps.
If you look at the NHS link I put above it says exercise can also help and weight bearing exercise in particular. In terms of just bone density running is better than walking due to the increased forces. But as anyone who knows some runners will know they can also suffer from more injuries, when compared to say walkers, cyclists and swimmers. I don't run but I have a bar bell and three times a week do a few squats and dead lifts. This helps with bone density as well as muscle loss,another problem with aging and increased core strength which helps with cycling.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby The utility cyclist » 1 Aug 2019, 12:42am

ratherbeintobago wrote:I remember this being talked about years ago.

If memory serves, the issue is said to be that road cycling (but not MTB) is not weight-bearing so decreases bone density. However, the BBC article says Rowe’s bone density was monitored throughout her cycling career, so there must be more to it.

As per the deets I mentioned a page or so ago the few bits of research on pro cyclists (like Rowe) tested a very small number of young males, we know that males at least don't reach mature bone density until at least late 20s (to early 30s) so using bone density tests on younger pro athletes was a bit rubbish anyway.
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.

Some of the research shows us that in general population 28% of 35-50 year olds had osteopenia at the femoral neck, that same research also states that 50% of those they tested were overweight and that that actually is a factor in increased bone density.

So on the one hand you have pro cyclists been measured - pre season only and not mid or post season to see the affects of sitting and laying down lots :roll: and state that 'some' of them have low bone density but on the other those with higher bone density from general populous are significantly overweight as the weight atually helps the bone density, I know which group I'd rather be in!

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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby Marcus Aurelius » 1 Aug 2019, 5:41am

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.


How do cyclists get about when not riding? Unless they live on the international space station, the majority of cyclists, without any propensity for osteoporosis or other degenerative bone conditions, who don’t have such a poor diet that they risk getting rickets, and do ‘normal’ activities ( walking about, housework, gardening etc.) really don’t need to bother with anything extra.

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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby softlips » 1 Aug 2019, 8:41am

al_yrpal wrote:My sister in law got stress fractures in her tibias because of excessive jogging. Most of the keen runners I know have ended up with joint damage, usually knees with many expensive knee replacements. My wife had hidden osteoporosis and has lost her mobility because of it. Menopausal women are particularly vulnerabke. Vitamin D and calcium are part of the answer

Al


It don’t take vitamin D supplements AND calcium supplements as together they increase your heart disease and stroke risk.

Everyone in the UK should take vitamin D in the winter months.

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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby bigjim » 1 Aug 2019, 11:26am

al_yrpal wrote: Most of the keen runners I know have ended up with joint damage,
Al

I thought that was a myth that had been laid to rest. I have been a lifelong leisure runner including marathons, but these days I limit it to 4 miles. I have suffered a fair few injuries due to cycling. I have never suffered joint damage from running. I do have arthritis of the knees and hips but it is moderate and my consultant has no problem with me continuing to run. Indeed, evidently, running helps the condition as it encourages blood flow to keep the joints fed and healthy. Plus of course the bone density bonus.
Nothing left to prove.

mattheus
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby mattheus » 1 Aug 2019, 12:30pm

I meet a LOT of ex-runners on bikes. The reason? They got injured.

Now, I don't spend nearly so much time with (serious) runners, but I have never met one who moved over from cycling due to injury.

If you have a report that disproves my anecdata, I may reconsider the situation, but until then ...

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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby bigjim » 1 Aug 2019, 3:49pm

mattheus wrote:I meet a LOT of ex-runners on bikes. The reason? They got injured.

Now, I don't spend nearly so much time with (serious) runners, but I have never met one who moved over from cycling due to injury.

If you have a report that disproves my anecdata, I may reconsider the situation, but until then ...

I suffered out of line Patella tracking through cycling. I spent more time in the gym weight loading and light running until I reckoned I was fit for the bike. I've also suffered back problems on the bike. I know these are probably due to poor position or form but they are cycling related. We are all different and will have different stories to tell. I just go off my personal experience. That's all I have got. My body seems to just like to run. I run easily. Not well [I'm too big] but I find it pretty effortless. I can run up a hill better than I can ride up one.
There are many articles extolling running as there are cycling. Regarding the injury thing. This is one of many. I'm happy enough to stick to my Consultants advice, to carry on. :)
https://www.runnersworld.com/advanced/a20827772/osteoarthritis-in-runners/
And this
https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/what-joint-docs-say-about-running/
Nothing left to prove.

mattheus
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Re: Cycling and bone health

Postby mattheus » 1 Aug 2019, 4:12pm

Nevertheless, you ARE still riding. Sure, "we're all different", but the data so far seems overwhelming to me - running causes *more* problems. I've nothing against running - it's superb when you're not injured - but this seems to be the downside.

How many miles/hours were you riding to upset your patella?