Cyclists Beware; Training Can Lead To Bone Loss

By: James Hopkins Email
By: James Hopkins Email

Bikers beware, a new study shows getting into a wreck may not be the only way to get serious injuries. Biking may be good for your muscles but not so good for your bones.

Bikers are hitting the roads and trails, and some say they rarely take a trip without getting some kind of cuts or scrapes. But for professional cyclists like Mike Allen, those injuries can be even worse. "I've broken my collar bone," says Allen. Allen trains hard during the season logging hundreds of miles and sticking to a strict diet. "Spring, Summer and Fall I'm just on the bike, that's all I have time for," says Allen. Doctors say that kind of "ride only" training can lead to serious problems.

A new study out of the University of Oklahoma shows that the lack of weight baring exercise can lead to bone loss. Most cyclists train by riding many miles daily without much else. Impact exercise is actually good for your bones. When the bones are put under constant stress they compensate by growing stronger. The lack of this impact has the opposite effect.

That's why new study suggests road bikers supplement their workout with weightlifting or running. The study showed that runners do not have the same bone loss problems. Diet also plays a big role too in calcium depletion. "If you don't have fats in your body you can't make hormones which leads to loss of bone," says Dr. Wes Sheader. Many athletes train with low fat high protein diets to lose weight which can actually suck to calcium right out of your bones.

Dr. Sheader has a good word of advice if you plan on training, "eat more fats, less carbs and do weight baring exercise." Officials also say stay away from carbonated drinks which are a leading cause of calcium depletion.

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