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Cycling alone may not be good for bone health

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A number of close friends are cycling fanatics. The types that bike to and from work daily and spend the weekends training for competitive cycling events. From the look of their lean, muscular frames you'd never guess there was an unhealthy bone in their bodies.

But hard-core cyclists who don't do other forms of exercise may face an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

The theory is that bones are designed to get regular impact, even if it is just from walking around, and without that impact the bones lose strength and density...

...Serious cyclists may spend so much time on their bikes that they end up with almost no weight-bearing activity. Even a casual walk down the street puts more impact on the bones than biking, and cyclists who spend all their time biking would probably benefit from regular walks and hikes - or even better, a short, intense run a couple of times a week, said Dr. Thor Besier, director of research at Stanford University's Human Performance Lab.

"Bones and cartilage are designed to withstand pretty large impact loads, and they like that kind of loading," Besier said. "If all you did was cycle, and you compared yourself to someone who all they did was walk, well, walking would provide much more stimulus for bone and cartilage health."

The article emphasized that bone health isn't something that casual cyclists need to worry about. But doing some additional cross training still wouldn't be a bad idea.

Photo by puliarf

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