It is well known that exercise is good for the heart, lungs and brain. But there is one part of our body that is often overlooked: our bones.
As we get older, our bones become less dense, which can ultimately lead to them becoming weak and more prone to fractures. From the age of around 35 we lose approximately 0.5% of bone mass per year. This accelerates once women reach menopause, and for men, after the age of around 50 years.
It is believed that exercise helps to keep our bones strong by putting them under stress and subjecting them to jolts and shocks. Each jolt is thought to send signals to bone cells that trigger them to grow back stronger.
In a recent documentary aired on SBS, Michael Moseley and his team of doctors studied athletes from three different sports to test the bone density in their hips and spines. They tested gymnasts, cricketers and cyclists.
The conclusions of the tests were very interesting.
The cricketers and gymnasts both had increased bone density compared to the average person, and cyclists were found to have lower than average bone density in the hips and pelvis.
This means that cyclists have lower bone density than the average person walking around in the street, not only lower than the athletes they were tested against.
The conclusion they drew from this study was:
“Cyclists’ weight is supported by their bikes, so it may be that they do not put sufficient pressure on their bones to strengthen them, particularly in the lumbar spine region. So while cycling is a good way to improve your fitness and cardiovascular health, our tests indicate it is not good for your bones”
What Can You Do To Maintain Your Bone Density?
If cycling is your only sport you should be aware that your bone density may be gradually decreasing, and this can ultimately lead to an increased likelihood of sustaining fractures. To reverse this process you need to integrate some weight-bearing impact exercise into your weekly routine.
One of the easiest ways to do this is skipping. Aim to add 5 minutes of skipping, 3 times every week. This alone can make a big difference.
Watch THIS VIDEO to learn how to skip properly.
We run a Strength and Stability Class every week on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 6:30am – 7:30am. These classes include a small amount of running and a variety of weight bearing and impact exercises which are perfect for cyclists looking to increase their bone density.
If you would like more information on these classes, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org