Why Cycling is Bad for Bone Density and How You Can Improve It

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Why Cycling Isn’t Good for Your Bones. There is a lot of research on bone health and a fair amount on bone health for cyclists2. Here are several reasons cyclists have lower than normal bone densities.

1. Cycling Is Non-Weight Bearing

The primary reason for cyclists having low bone density is that it is a non-weight bearing activity. High level cycling in particular has been shown to have negative effects on bone strength because of the amount of time cyclists spend training and riding. You are spending a lot of time seated, with no compression forces on your spine and pelvis. Even though it may feel like you are pedaling hard at times, the forces you are putting into the pedals are not distributed in a way that puts significant strain on your bones, which is needed for bone growth.

2. Recovery Time

Necessary recovery time from hard cycling usually involves additional non-weight bearing activity of sitting or lying down. Most cyclists reported avoiding weight bearing activities during recovery periods as a way to help enhance recovery from training.

3. Low Body Mass

Cyclists are generally lighter, and low body mass is also a risk factor for osteoporosis and osteopenia. This especially applies to women (who in general have lower body mass) as well as to cyclists who are consistently striving to obtain a low body weight in order to improve performance.

4. Increased Risk Of Fractures From Crashes Or Falls

Whether you compete or just ride for fitness and fun, chances are at some point you will take a fall, or be involved in a crash. This applies to any level cyclist, whether you ride solo, with friends, in groups, or compete in rallies and races.

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