Friday, December 29, 2006

Are cyclists at risk for osteoporosis?

Cycling is a great cardiovascular exercise that can spare joints from stress, but it still puts riders at risk for osteoporosis, says Mountain Bike columnist Selene Yeager, so she recommends adding cross training and calcium supplements to exercise regimens.
  • If the only time you move your body is when it's clipped into a pair of SPDs, you could be raising your risk for this bone-thinning disease.
  • Cycling is a non-weight-bearing activity, which means your bones don't have to support your own (or any outside) weight to do it.
  • That's good news for your joints, because they're spared the stress, but it can be bad news for your bones because they need stress to build.
  • Without it, the body keeps taking the calcium it needs from your skeleton without putting any fresh bone back, and you lose bone density.
  • The best thing for your bones--and the rest of your body--is to throw in some cross-training.
  • Weight training is particularly good for building bones.
  • Doing a full-body strength-training routine three days a week strengthens your skeleton as well as your muscles.
  • Adding running into your routine a couple times a week (or more in the off season) can strengthen bones as well.
  • As for calcium supplements: They're great added protection.
  • The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends getting 1,000-1,300 milligrams of calcium a day.
  • That's about three glasses of calcium-fortified milk a day.
  • If you don't eat much dairy, definitely supplement.
  • KEEP YOUR SKELETON STRONG DON'T SMOKE: Human chimneys lose bone twice as quickly as nonsmokers.
  • DITCH THE COLA: Carbonated drinks, especially colas, are high in phosphorous, which blocks calcium absorptions.
  • Plus they're a big zero in the nutritional category.
  • MODERATE BOOZE: Too much alcohol inhibits calcium absorption and bone formation.
  • Stick to no more than a drink or two a day.
Source: MountainBike/ photo courtesy of A2Z of Health, Beauty and Fitness

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