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Road biking and burning calories

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Road biking and burning calories

Old 02-06-18, 07:44 PM
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Road biking and burning calories

As it turns out, the best diet is not needing one; and, it's great to have a sport that makes it possible. The article below opened my eyes to an obvious truth… make no mistake: a healthy dump probably is the surest sign of physical wellbeing and consider yourself lucky that your chosen sport helps make it possible.

https://health.usnews.com/health-new...our-gut-health
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Old 02-06-18, 08:23 PM
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Even with our varied (my wife cycles a list of over 300 recipes) Mediterranean diet, as we've aged we've had gut microbiome issues, namely bad breath. Fixed that completely with a prebiotic (inulin) and a probiotic, every morning an hour before breakfast. I know, totally hip BS, but it worked when nothing else did.
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Old 02-06-18, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
Even with our varied (my wife cycles a list of over 300 recipes) Mediterranean diet, as we've aged we've had gut microbiome issues, namely bad breath. Fixed that completely with a prebiotic (inulin) and a probiotic, every morning an hour before breakfast. I know, totally hip BS, but it worked when nothing else did.
sounds like putting bananas in yogurt...
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Old 02-06-18, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by McBTC
sounds like putting bananas in yogurt...
We eat and ate lots of both for the past 40 years.
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Old 02-06-18, 10:32 PM
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Maybe save a few calories for glass of craft beer:

A 25 year study, "on alcohol from Harvard ... 14,629 men and women aged 45-64 ... found that for those who drank one 5 oz glass of wine or 12 oz. beer per day, the men had a 20 percent less incidence of heart disease and 16 percent for women. What’s interesting is that heart failure rates were higher for those who drank less OR more..."

And, a UCSD study, “among men and women 85 and older, individuals who consumed ... 1-4 drinks based on gender and weight ... were twice as likely to be cognitively healthy than non-drinkers.”

I think the deal is, alcohol can be beneficial in modest amounts--e.g., you need to be active enough such that beer or wine does not comprise a significant amount of your caloric intake.
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Old 02-06-18, 11:18 PM
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Link: https://thehealthbeat.com/unfiltered...organic-beers/
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Old 02-06-18, 11:38 PM
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There are some cool TV shows from NHK Japan and the other day they were talking about bones.
One discovery is that bones need impact to 'grow' - meaning increase the density. Our bones are hollow inside and biking doesn't provide these needed impact to the bones like when jumping/running.

Don't remember the name, but there is an American road bike rider that was one of the top US riders that felt on a rainy day to go around his home (not competing) and broke a bone and discovered the density was very low.

Myself, I am introducing some running with biking.
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Old 02-06-18, 11:43 PM
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I dunno about road biking and burning calories. All kinds of exercise can burn calories. Intensity probably matters more than terrain. Sustained effort may make the difference in paring down that last bit of excess body fat.

But my body knows what it likes. I've done without my favorite oatmeal for a few days, yogurt for two days and bananas for one (flu symptoms again, didn't want to leave the house until I was feeling well).

Already my digestive system is complaining. I've pretty much eaten the same thing for two years every morning and before most bike rides, including afternoon and night: coffee, oatmeal with yogurt and bananas. Sure seems to work for me. Lasts for hours before I'm hungry again.

I tried substituting eggs and toast the past couple of days since I didn't feel well enough for grocery shopping. Bleah. Not the same. I'm hungry again an hour later, feel bonky even doing not much of anything at home, and my digestive system just feels bleah.

Ditto, good beer. I never drink a lot at a time, but nothing feels better than a cup of coffee before a ride and a good sturdy unpasteurized beer or two afterward. It's probably my only significant source of excess carbs/calories. To pare down that last 5 lbs or so of belly fat I'd need to either give up beer or ride more. I'd rather do the latter.
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Old 02-07-18, 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by phtomita
There are some cool TV shows from NHK Japan and the other day they were talking about bones.
One discovery is that bones need impact to 'grow' - meaning increase the density. Our bones are hollow inside and biking doesn't provide these needed impact to the bones like when jumping/running.

Don't remember the name, but there is an American road bike rider that was one of the top US riders that felt on a rainy day to go around his home (not competing) and broke a bone and discovered the density was very low.

Myself, I am introducing some running with biking.
This is something I worry about too. My dad a couple years ago was diagnosed with low bone density for his age (50s), and I am hoping to avoid that. Hopefully, playing with kids at work helps...
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Old 02-07-18, 09:39 AM
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for the past few days, I've only eaten 1 meal, before I go to bed. During the day, I drink water. One of my co-workers noticed that I have lost weight. I told her I'll be losing more, once the weather gets warmer. I look forward to beating my total mileage of 512 in 2017
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Old 02-07-18, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by phtomita
There are some cool TV shows from NHK Japan and the other day they were talking about bones.
One discovery is that bones need impact to 'grow' - meaning increase the density. Our bones are hollow inside and biking doesn't provide these needed impact to the bones like when jumping/running.

Don't remember the name, but there is an American road bike rider that was one of the top US riders that felt on a rainy day to go around his home (not competing) and broke a bone and discovered the density was very low.

Myself, I am introducing some running with biking.
Originally Posted by San Pedro
This is something I worry about too. My dad a couple years ago was diagnosed with low bone density for his age (50s), and I am hoping to avoid that. Hopefully, playing with kids at work helps...
Plus we lose minerals through our sweat that would be part of our bones. Or something. We're (road cyclists are) worse off than couch potatoes.

Impact and/or weight bearing exercise will both improve this.

With a barbell: squats, overhead presses, deadlifts (and Romanian DLs), bench presses, bent over rows.
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Old 02-07-18, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by phtomita
There are some cool TV shows from NHK Japan and the other day they were talking about bones.
One discovery is that bones need impact to 'grow' - meaning increase the density. Our bones are hollow inside and biking doesn't provide these needed impact to the bones like when jumping/running.

Don't remember the name, but there is an American road bike rider that was one of the top US riders that felt on a rainy day to go around his home (not competing) and broke a bone and discovered the density was very low.

Myself, I am introducing some running with biking.
Yup, running in one of the best things you can do to keep the right bone density. The nice thing about running is it’s really convenient because it starts at your doorsteps. Weight training isn’t bad either.
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Old 02-08-18, 12:07 AM
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Yes, you are right, running is actually a great way to increase your overall level of health. Research shows that running can raise your levels of good cholesterol while also helping you increase lung function and use.
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Old 02-08-18, 11:22 AM
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I'm not an expert but I think bone health comes more from working the muscles attached to the bones than from pounding activities. Road biking is great cardiovascular activity for the lower body so adding running to a road bikers regiment cannot be expected to add as much as adding an upper body activity to an exercise program (paddle boarding, rowing... ). Running burns a lot of calories but even so, from what I've seen, all of the runners I've known get injured a lot as they get older, eat poorly along the way to stay super thin and end up having to quit that sport. Road bikers face issues to but I think it's the absence of pounding that makes it an activity that more people can productively engage in throughout life.
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Old 02-08-18, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ussprinceton
I look forward to beating my total mileage of 512 in 2017
You sound like my kind of rider...I think I ended up a little higher than you last year, but under 1000 miles...only have about 3 hours a week riding time, on a good week, in season...its more like 60-90 minutes a week now, most on a trainer. But I enjoyed all of it, including my first 2 cyclocross races!
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Old 02-08-18, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by McBTC
I'm not an expert but I think bone health comes more from working the muscles attached to the bones than from pounding activities. Road biking is great cardiovascular activity for the lower body so adding running to a road bikers regiment cannot be expected to add as much as adding an upper body activity to an exercise program (paddle boarding, rowing... ). Running burns a lot of calories but even so, from what I've seen, all of the runners I've known get injured a lot as they get older, eat poorly along the way to stay super thin and end up having to quit that sport. Road bikers face issues to but I think it's the absence of pounding that makes it an activity that more people can productively engage in throughout life.
That's not now it works. Bone density comes from weight bearing activities which subject the bones to a lot of force. Cycling doesn't do this so it doesn't contribute to lower body bone density.

The impact from running (like the lack of impact from cycling) is, like pretty much all stresses on the body, both good and bad. Good in that it promotes bone density and likely other desirable adaptations in order to handle the high force of each landing. Bad in that there is a higher chance of injury.

When done in moderation, running can be a life-long endeavor. My parents are 69 and 66 and still jog 3 times a week.
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Old 02-08-18, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven
Yup, running in one of the best things you can do to keep the right bone density. The nice thing about running is it’s really convenient because it starts at your doorsteps. Weight training isn’t bad either.
Originally Posted by janejskelton
Yes, you are right, running is actually a great way to increase your overall level of health. Research shows that running can raise your levels of good cholesterol while also helping you increase lung function and use.
Hey, what's with the 'running' love-in? This is, after all, the Road Cycling forum.

I kid, of course, because as much as I love being on the bike I will not give up my running for that very reason.
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Old 02-08-18, 08:20 PM
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It's certainly possible that competitive level road biking (which seem to be where these bone mass studies come from) may be associated with loss of bone mass -- even if we do not fully understand the mechanism -- and there are perhaps persons who should avoid road cycling altogether, although... I doubt if we will see such persons being able to improve their bone mass by taking up jogging. My thinking is that few competition-level cyclists even walk the dog whereas I imagine many recreational cyclists engage in other activities and especially in walking. I wonder too about the eating habits of competitive-level cyclists. My understanding is that few people actually get an adequate amount of calcium in their diets and some may be too fearful of getting cancer to be in the sun long enough for their bodies to make vitamin D (so what then, eat sardines). Wasn't the German champion bicycler Jan Ullrich known for coming to the TdF overweight with the intention of riding into proper weight (obviously burning a lot more calories than he consumed and no doubt not drinking an 8 ounce glass of low fat milk a day)? Probably not the best nutritional example for recreational cyclists to follow...
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Old 02-09-18, 02:15 AM
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I've read more studies than you can shake a tibia at, especially over the past couple of months since my 79 y/o mom's femur snapped spontaneously while she was walking in her home. She was taking alendronate (generic Fosamax) to slow the osteoporosis, but it wasn't good enough.

There's so much B.S. about bone density it's no wonder so many pop culture writers and readers make false conclusions based on the sparse available evidence.

Short version:
  • Bone strength is determined in childhood and teen years. After that it's all downhill, no matter what we do.
  • There's no evidence that any kind of exercise significantly strengthens mature adult bones. There are miniscule differences noted in some subjects who do weight bearing and impact exercises. These differences may fall within the range of statistical error and may be due to lifelong fitness patterns since the early bone-building years.
  • Bicycling doesn't cause loss of bone density. That's a misinterpretation of the data.

The takeaway from this Italian study published in the NIH's PMC site: "prevention of osteoporosis is indeed primarily a pediatric, rather than geriatric, task." (I mention Italian only because of the occasional awkward phrasing, which appears to be a translation error.)

The goal is to slow loss of bone density. Any exercise is better than none. Some people cannot safely participate in impact or weight bearing exercise -- their bones are too far gone and ain't coming back. Bicycling is good exercise compared with watching TV, reading and napping. Ditto exercising in the relative safety of the gym: spinning, ellipticals, treadmills, pretty much anything other than the sauna, juice bar and texting about how cute, dorky or smelly the other gym users are.

Lifelong obesity makes every effort a weight bearing exercise. My mom's dietician and doctor joked that she might have preserved leg bone density longer if I hadn't changed her diet 10 years ago to lower her weight from nearly 200 lbs to 135 lbs. They were being ironic, of course, because obesity just trades one problem for others.

The trope that cycling is somehow bad for bone density is based on a gross misinterpretation of data from a very tiny, elite group of road racing cyclists who had done practically nothing else since their prime bone-building youth. Only when compared with other types of athletes and active young adults did some elite level road racing cyclists appear to have unusually low bone density for otherwise fit young adults.

Bicycling -- specifically road racing -- didn't cause lower bone density. The lower than normal bone density was the result of avoiding building muscle (and consequent weight and bulk) that typically results from more well rounded activities that included the normal types of impact and load bearing exercises done by most healthy and active children and teenagers. Road racing specialists, especially climbers, tend to avoid anything that doesn't contribute to their specialty. Most athletes and normally active kids and young adults don't participate in such specialized and exclusive training.

See "Exercise is Not the path to Strong Bones", NY Times 2016 (with links to several medical journal studies, not to bloggers and pop culture websites). And, yes, as too often occurs with mass media headlines, that headline is a gross exaggeration of the gist of the entire article, which does not by any means disparage the benefits of exercise, including on bone health.

In my mom's case, as a mere anecdote, she had a lifelong pattern of being sedentary. She has described a childhood of frequent illnesses, minor and non-debilitating scoliosis and being doted on by indulgent parents. Exercise was considered unladylike. She was thin but not fit. I can't remember her ever sticking with any exercise program for more than a week or two. She was cerebral, a reader, an articulate and intelligent conversationalist, but mostly sedentary and physically awkward. To me, always looked like she was always on the verge of toppling over even when she was younger. She walked like she was wearing ice skates and didn't know how to skate. She fell often, dozens of times throughout her adult life. Fortunately she rarely suffered any serious injuries -- mostly bruises and strains. But as she got older she became paranoid about walking and gradually went from walking unsupported, to walking with a cane, then with a walker, and then using a motorized wheelchair to go anywhere. So over the years her muscle conditioning atrophied as well. It's possible that encouraging more physical activity in her youth might have led to better strength, balance and bone density.

Interestingly, she encouraged my younger brother and me to be active, including risky activities. We were both amateur boxers, among other impact oriented sports. So with the exception of a few years of disability after my back and neck were broken in a car wreck, I've tried to hang on to the habit of staying active and fit. Even after the wreck when my mobility was limited I still walked as much as I could using a cane.

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Old 02-09-18, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat
I've read more studies than you can shake a tibia at, especially over the past couple of months since my 79 y/o mom's femur snapped spontaneously while she was walking in her home. She was taking alendronate (generic Fosamax) to slow the osteoporosis, but it wasn't good enough.

There's so much B.S. about bone density it's no wonder so many pop culture writers and readers make false conclusions based on the sparse available evidence.

Short version:
  • Bone strength is determined in childhood and teen years. After that it's all downhill, no matter what we do.
  • There's no evidence that any kind of exercise significantly strengthens mature adult bones. There are miniscule differences noted in some subjects who do weight bearing and impact exercises. These differences may fall within the range of statistical error and may be due to lifelong fitness patterns since the early bone-building years.
  • Bicycling doesn't cause loss of bone density. That's a misinterpretation of the data.
... (shortened to save space)
Interesting. You've certainly done more research on this than I have, but a quick google search seems to contradict what you are saying with respect to certain types of exercise increasing bone density. Have you read these?
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19453205
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22376192
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4214007/
If so, what were your thoughts on them?
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Old 02-09-18, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by OBoile
Interesting. You've certainly done more research on this than I have, but a quick google search seems to contradict what you are saying with respect to certain types of exercise increasing bone density. Have you read these?
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19453205
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22376192
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4214007/
If so, what were your thoughts on them?
Yes, thank you. He has it exactly backwards. It's well established that high mileage cycling decreases bone density, particularly spinal density, while heavy weight training or plyometrics increases it.
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Old 02-09-18, 09:11 PM
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Read those publications again, all the way through. Only one of the three is a study. The study is of extremely limited value, as the sampling group was small (by the author's admission) and highly exclusive, eliminating all but essentially healthy subjects. The author also acknowledges contradictions with other studies, possibly due to methodology.

The other two are just abstracts. All three publications, including the linked references, state there is insufficient data to support any statistically significant conclusions, particularly in older study participants.

They don't support claims that bone density can be significantly improved in adults, particularly post-menopausal women and any adult with significant age related health issues (because those were excluded from the study). The only consistent agreement is that exercise in older adults improves the strength of muscle and connective tissue (not bone), and improves balance and coordination, along with improving cardiovascular health -- all of which can reduce the risks of fall related injuries.

And there is nothing to support the assertion that cycling of any kind decreases bone density, relative to a sedentary lifestyle. At worst bicycling doesn't increase bone density compared with more well rounded load bearing or impact exercises. And most summaries written by laypersons, based on these studies, agree that some types of bicycling -- mountain biking, cyclocross, etc. -- may provide the type of exercise that contributes to bone density *in young people* and *slows the loss of bone density* in adults.

So far the only consistent theme among the many studies I've read on the PMC site echoes the excerpt I posted above from the Italian study:

The takeaway from this Italian study published in the NIH's PMC site: "prevention of osteoporosis is indeed primarily a pediatric, rather than geriatric, task."
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Old 02-09-18, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat
Read those publications again, all the way through. Only one of the three is a study. The study is of extremely limited value, as the sampling group was small (by the author's admission) and highly exclusive, eliminating all but essentially healthy subjects. The author also acknowledges contradictions with other studies, possibly due to methodology.

The other two are just abstracts. All three publications, including the linked references, state there is insufficient data to support any statistically significant conclusions, particularly in older study participants.

They don't support claims that bone density can be significantly improved in adults, particularly post-menopausal women and any adult with significant age related health issues (because those were excluded from the study). The only consistent agreement is that exercise in older adults improves the strength of muscle and connective tissue (not bone), and improves balance and coordination, along with improving cardiovascular health -- all of which can reduce the risks of fall related injuries.

And there is nothing to support the assertion that cycling of any kind decreases bone density, relative to a sedentary lifestyle. At worst bicycling doesn't increase bone density compared with more well rounded load bearing or impact exercises. And most summaries written by laypersons, based on these studies, agree that some types of bicycling -- mountain biking, cyclocross, etc. -- may provide the type of exercise that contributes to bone density *in young people* and *slows the loss of bone density* in adults.

So far the only consistent theme among the many studies I've read on the PMC site echoes the excerpt I posted above from the Italian study:
You may not have read this column by Joe Friel: Joe Friel - Bones and Cyclists
or seen this article:
https://www.plasticsurgeoncapetown.c...ttle-bones.php

Here's another pro coach advocating for strength training to increase bone mass:
https://trainright.com/5-things-cycl...ngth-training/
A thread with the whole series of articles can be found here:
Introduction to strength training for the endurance athlete

And another pro coach:
https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/w...an-improve-it/

Of course in your personal life, you can do anything you want. But to advocate that cyclists not engage in bone strengthening routines is not a good thing for the sport. I've strength trained since I was a teen and have never broken a bone other than ribs. Pretty hard not to break something from a skiing fall at 40+ in moguls. I still ski fast and fall occasionally.
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Old 02-10-18, 12:16 AM
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John P. A. Ioannidis explained, "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False," here:

Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

Sad but true... the gold standard of quality research -- medical science -- is replete with bad science, with several examples discussed here:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine...cience/308269/
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Old 02-10-18, 03:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
You may not have read this column by Joe Friel: Joe Friel - Bones and Cyclists
or seen this article:
https://www.plasticsurgeoncapetown.c...ttle-bones.php

Here's another pro coach advocating for strength training to increase bone mass:
https://trainright.com/5-things-cycl...ngth-training/
A thread with the whole series of articles can be found here:
Introduction to strength training for the endurance athlete

And another pro coach:
https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/w...an-improve-it/

Of course in your personal life, you can do anything you want. But to advocate that cyclists not engage in bone strengthening routines is not a good thing for the sport. I've strength trained since I was a teen and have never broken a bone other than ribs. Pretty hard not to break something from a skiing fall at 40+ in moguls. I still ski fast and fall occasionally.
First, let me restate that I'm not advocating against bone strengthening exercise. Quite the opposite.

My only pony in this race was the ultimately futile hope that my mom's severe osteoporosis could somehow be reversed late in life through supplements, diet and exercise. I attended most of her medical appointments. I read medical journals and published studies (and pop culture articles based on those studies, which often misrepresented the original studies, either through failing to understand the data, or through inflammatory clickbait tactics).

In December, after her surgery to repair the femur that snapped above the twice-repaired knee (mom was just standing in the kitchen getting some water, took a step and *snap*), the surgeon described her bones as "cheese filled pretzels". He'd never seen such fragile bones in an otherwise normal-appearing adult without a history of spontaneous fractures. In mom's case it's likely her increasingly sedentary habits, including using a power wheelchair, may have actually protected her by reducing the risk of falling. In some ways her doctor and I contributed to her risks by insisting she walk more, putter around the house, etc. If she were still alert and cognizant enough to appreciate the irony, she would enjoy telling me "I told you so!" Unfortunately rapidly worsening dementia has robbed her of the ability to enjoy her penchant for barbed irony and being proven right.

Ultimately, after reading medical studies and interpretations of studies, there was nothing to support the notion that bone density loss can be significantly reversed in adults. It can only be slowed. Even that effort to slow the loss of bone density may be ineffective in seniors, particularly women. It is what it is. The time to build strong bones is in childhood.

I wanted to believe bone density loss could be curbed and reversed late in life. That was my agenda. But the available data contradicted what I wanted to believe. There is no current evidence to support the notion that we can do anything other than slow the loss of bone density.

I'd still like to believe that bone density loss can be reversed significantly with some consistency. But it turns out there are relatively few useful studies of statistically significant sampling groups. The researchers themselves say this over and over. You would think that with an aging population and the emphasis on concepts such as "60 is the new 40" and so on, that we'd see more emphasis on serious studies of larger sampling groups to reach statistically significant conclusions. But so far it hasn't happened.

Back to the links you provided... I've read most of those before.

None of those articles contradict the points I'm making. The articles, such as Friel's, either confirm the same conclusions based on medical studies; or continue to misrepresent or oversimplify the connection between bone density and lifelong road cycling to the exclusion of full body exercises (the Training Peaks article).

Even the doctor who authored this piece indulged in a bit of hyperbole and clickbait headline writing (can't blame him -- media consumers have been trained by professional media hounds for decades to use misleading headlines). In the fourth sentence of his opening paragraph he reiterates the same conclusion as the best currently available medical studies: "Given my passion for cycling over the last 30 of my 44years (to the exclusion of any other sport)...".

In other words, as the other studies conclude, healthy bone density begins in childhood with well rounded and diverse physical activities, including weight bearing and impact. The author of that article admits he did nothing but ride bikes since his early teens. The connection is there. But the conclusion is wrong. Cycling didn't cause his lower bone density. His failure to participate in more diverse physical activities contributed to his lower bone density. He could very well have been a bedridden reader since age 14, or a video gamer since age 14, to the exclusion of all other pursuits, and experienced even worse bone density problems in his mid-40s.

Lifelong road cycling since youth, to the exclusion of other exercise, doesn't reduce bone density. It simply fails to encourage bone density in the way that full body resistance, weight bearing and impact exercises do. Those aren't the same thing.

I've yet to read a study that claims lifelong road cycling reduces bone density relative to a lifelong sedentary lifestyle of reading, gaming or other non-physical activities. Because it doesn't. Road cycling simply isn't as effective as other exercises at encouraging bone density in youth when it really matters and establishes a lifetime of bone health.
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