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  1. #1
    vol
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    How much does cycling help strengthening bones?

    Is it more effective for strengthening bones than walking? What about in leisure pace?

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    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    No it's not more effective than walking. In fact, it's not weight bearing and excessive sweating while riding has been tied to calcium loss.

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    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Better than being bedfast. Maybe.

    Yes, weight bearing is key. Ride out of the saddle. Difficult for those of us on recumbents.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

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    vol
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    Thanks for the disappointing answers

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    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    Thanks for the disappointing answers
    It is the reason so many of us do some cross training. It doesn't take that much and maybe 30 minutes three time a week of weight lifting will help a lot.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Pro riders actually have issues with bone density loss and need supplemental exercise to help maintain it. Check out the following article, for one: http://www.bicycling.com/training-nu...ss/unbreakable

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    How much does cycling help strengthening bones?

    It doesn't ... in fact there is evidence to suggest (see what Looigi posted, and there's other evidence too if you google it) that quite the opposite happens ... that cycling is not good for the bones. It is not enough of a weight bearing exercise.

    And so I walk 3.2 km x 5 days each week ... and have been doing that, or something similar, since 2005.

    Prior to that, I was much more into weightlifting.

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    Senior Member The_DK's Avatar
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    Want to build bone mass? Do your deadlifts and squats.

  9. #9
    Roll Model krustyone's Avatar
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    It does, however, build muscle around joints to support load bearing workouts. I got into cycling by accident, tore the meniscus in my knee and the doc said I needed to do something to build the muscle so I could keep skateboarding. Now I am totally into cycling and can still skate!!
    "Science has proven that if you have one flat on your bike, you will have another one, sooner or later. This is the reason that you should always buy a new bike when you get a flat." Mr Grumpy
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  10. #10
    Conquer Cancer rider Boudicca's Avatar
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    What they said.

    For bone density, you need something with a load, whether it's weight-lifting, or carrying a heavy pack, or maybe lugging groceries from the store. For years I only biked, and worried about the bone density. This year I've been really into weights and training, so I will soon start to worry about whether I have the stamina for biking.
    Zero gallons to the mile

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    vol
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    Thanks, all. Clearly a consensus. Now I've got a problem. Several months ago when my saddle was too high, I got hip pain after riding. No more pain after I lowered the saddle. I thought whatever injury I got in hip bones was healed. Yesterday I happened to carry heavy loads of grocery. Didn't feel anything. But when I got up today and began to walk, the very same pain is back! So weight lifting or heavy load carrying will obviously do harm to me. Does anyone know how can I get that hip injury really healed?

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    Senior Member AndreyT's Avatar
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    As usual, as "consensus" of this kind rises a strong suspicion of lots of crackpot pseudoscience being involved. For example, one of the previously linked articles claimed that sweating is a major reason of bone loss during cycling exercise. That article is immediately dismissed a crackpot hogwash, since it fails to explain how is sweating from cycling is different from sweating from any other kind of exercise (with regard to mineral loss at least).

    Now let's bring some sense into this.

    The bones in the upper body experience the same amount of load while road cycling as they do in other types of exercises that do not involve significant vertical inertial loads (walking being one example). The distribution of that load might differ depending on your riding posture. Obviously, loads experienced by more upright riders will be closer to what is experienced during ordinary walking. Needless to say, cycling styles that do involve significant vertical inertial loads, like mountain biking and cyclocross (just to name a few), might prove to be much better upper-body bone-strengthening exercises than walking or running.

    Now for the legs. The bones in your upper leg work differently than when you are walking, of course. When pedaling, the upper leg bones experience side loads mostly. The lower leg bones, on the other hand, experience significant length-wise loads. Under these circumstances, you should expect cycling to be beneficial to strengthening your lower leg bones (as much as these bones can be strengthened by periodic-loading type of exercise).

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Bone density responds to impact loads, not static loads. Cycling is low impact and hence does not improve or encourage increased bone density. This is basic health information provided to all older women, especially if they are exhibiting signs of low bone density.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    Yesterday I happened to carry heavy loads of grocery. Didn't feel anything. But when I got up today and began to walk, the very same pain is back! So weight lifting or heavy load carrying will obviously do harm to me. Does anyone know how can I get that hip injury really healed?
    How about easing into a program of walking and weightlifting.

    And go see a Doctor ... or a Physiotherapist or Chiropractor.

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    vol
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    How about easing into a program of walking and weightlifting.

    And go see a Doctor ... or a Physiotherapist or Chiropractor.
    I would have to find the right doctor, or they may make it worse

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    old fart
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndreyT View Post
    When pedaling, the upper leg bones experience side loads mostly. The lower leg bones, on the other hand, experience significant length-wise loads. Under these circumstances, you should expect cycling to be beneficial to strengthening your lower leg bones (as much as these bones can be strengthened by periodic-loading type of exercise).
    Another hogwash.
    While the rest of this reply is spot on, the "side" loads theory can not pass muster.
    Human bones are not suited for side loads whatsoever. They break upon decent bending. This is why leg muscles (upper and lower) are attached to the bones the way they are - to prevent side loads. Leg muscles exert loads mostly longitudinal to bones.

    As posted elsewhere in this thread, what matters is impact loading, which only mountain biking can ensure to an extent. Road biking does not help bone strength/density.
    Does not hurt it either.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IK_biker View Post
    Does not hurt it either.
    It does for high mileage/endurance cyclists. DEXA scans of pro cyclists has shown they have decreased bone density.

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    old fart
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    It does for high mileage/endurance cyclists. DEXA scans of pro cyclists has shown they have decreased bone density.
    Which none of the members of this froum is....

  19. #19
    Blissketeer HokuLoa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IK_biker View Post
    Which none of the members of this froum is....
    Um, don't be so sure...

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    There are lots of us here who are "high mileage/endurance cyclists" ... go visit the Long Distance sub-forum.

    Randonneurs, RAAM riders, and other long distance cyclists do think about the bone density thing. It's one of the reasons why I cross-train.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IK_biker View Post
    Which none of the members of this froum is....
    I am a remember of this froum and with massive guads often drope the hamer.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    Weird how none of you guys seem to have heard of "mountain biking"... Obviously I am being sarcastic, but you guys seem to be forgetting that there are other types of riding than road riding. Mountain biking will definitely send impact shocks through the body which in theory would help to build bone mass. Especially if you ride a fully rigid bike.

  23. #23
    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    Thanks, all. Clearly a consensus. Now I've got a problem. Several months ago when my saddle was too high, I got hip pain after riding. No more pain after I lowered the saddle. I thought whatever injury I got in hip bones was healed. Yesterday I happened to carry heavy loads of grocery. Didn't feel anything. But when I got up today and began to walk, the very same pain is back! So weight lifting or heavy load carrying will obviously do harm to me. Does anyone know how can I get that hip injury really healed?
    Are your muscles just sore from carrying heavy groceries? That's to be expected.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    So Tom only hires people that are nutty? Is part of the requirement to be a moderator on this site is that you have to be nuts??
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  24. #24
    Blissketeer HokuLoa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29 View Post
    Weird how none of you guys seem to have heard of "mountain biking"... Obviously I am being sarcastic, but you guys seem to be forgetting that there are other types of riding than road riding. Mountain biking will definitely send impact shocks through the body which in theory would help to build bone mass. Especially if you ride a fully rigid bike.
    The gains in bone density for me MTBing were far outweighed by the increasingly likely losses due to fractures. Way too many and frequent nasty endos to face/shoulder plants.... Now I just road bike. Yes, I have good skill but also a very "push the limit" approach to athletics....

  25. #25
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29 View Post
    Weird how none of you guys seem to have heard of "mountain biking"... Obviously I am being sarcastic, but you guys seem to be forgetting that there are other types of riding than road riding. Mountain biking will definitely send impact shocks through the body which in theory would help to build bone mass. Especially if you ride a fully rigid bike.

    Like I said ... crosstraining.

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