I've noticed a few newer 50+ folks who seemd to not be aware that intensive bicycling increases the chances of developing osteoporosis, and that weight-bearing resistive exercises can help prevent osteo. So, I am reposting a previous post of 01-24-04.
From Bicycling Magazine which came to my home on 01-23-04
While discussing an orthopedic surgeon/cross country biker age 51 who seemed in excellent health, " . . . the appearance and vitality of a man far younger than his 51 years. He also has the low bone denisty of a man in his 70's and is on the road to osteoporosis."
"27 male racers ages 40-60 . . . trained average of 12.2 hours a week for 20 years . . . bone densities were 10% lower than a control group . . . Clinically, 10 percent thinning is significant - not good - almost frightening."
"2/3rd's of the cyclists studied already showed signs of at least osteopenia (moderate bone loss). Four had full blown osteoporosis."
"Rich Templin, a legendary mega-miler, has the hip and lower-spine bone densities of someone almost twice his age."
"You are at increased risk if you are Caucasian or asian, have a parent with osteoporosis, trained to excess as a youth, or took steroids."
In addition to elite cyclists being particularly at risk, it seems that even recreational cyclists are somewhat at risk.
The mechanism: Calcium is lost through sweat (something we cyclists know about). To be replaced, osteoclasts prep bones to receive a new layer of calcium. As we age, less is replaced, but this can be stopped with a good diet combined with physical activity that includes physical impact, G-Forces and vibration (road biking does not give enough vibration).
1. Calcium and Vit D supplements (1,200 "Ca" spread over the day along with 400-800 IU of "d").
2. Yogurt and milk
3. No smoking, less alcohol, and really less soda, (phosphates really depletes the Ca)
4. Lift weights at least 2x's/wk, YEAR ROUND. It suggests heavy lifting to failure.
5. Back exercises such as extensions 2x's week
6. Run, hike, skip rope or jump around.
7. Stand up on your bike more often.
8. Mountain bike more
9. Get a bone scan.
The article is much longer. I have just presented the highlights.
"For recreational riders, cycling is not as good, bone-wise, as other fitness activities."
Note: My youngest son had severe osteo and no one knew it. He fell out of bed and fractured his L-5 vertebrae, and is still recovering from the paralysis. The drug Fosamax (and similar) are pretty effective in helping to build back up the bone density. Osteo is no fun.