Crashes and broken bones are part of the competitive cyclists expected hazards. This year the 2011 Tour de France was no exception, with Bradley Wiggins being perhaps the most famous casualty of many spectacular crashes.
Another famous casualty of dem bones was Chris Boardman. He had to cut his racing career short as a result of early onset osteoporosis.
As cyclists we can all expect to have the odd crash or two. Probably a few more than two!
It is with this in mind that I thought that you might be interested an item which I came across in a recent edition of the Road Bike Riders e-zine, (see www.roadbikerider.com)
We have all heard of osteoporosis, the debilitating loss of bone density. About 3 million people in the U.K have it and each year about 250,000 fractures occur because of it. Whilst osteoporosis is mainly associated with women (1 in 2 can expect to suffer from it), it is also very common in men (1 in 5). However you may not have heard of Osteopenia. This is a medical term to describe the stage between healthy hard bones and osteoporosis. This is what the item in road Bike Rider had to say, whilst written for male cyclists, it is even more relevant for our lady riders. I quote:
“Apparently osteopenia isn’t unusual for men whose main sport is bike riding or any other low-impact activity. Despite cycling’s wonderful benefits for cardiovascular fitness and leg strength, it’s been shown to work against bone health.
Researchers at the University of Missouri are the latest to find that male cyclists are significantly more likely to have osteopenia and, therefore, a greater risk of fractures. The study will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Metabolism.
Most men don’t realize the risk and, the study notes, most doctors don’t either. They almost never check men’s bone density, even after one is broken.
The Missouri researchers tested competitive male cyclists and runners. They found that 63% percent of the cyclists had osteopenia of the spine or hip, compared with 19% percent of the runners. The big difference is attributed to the fact that running is a high-impact, weight-bearing sport while bike riding is neither.
The solution for us cyclists is to integrate weight-bearing exercises into our fitness programs. This could be resistance/weight training, cyclocross, running, hiking, basketball, tennis, even jumping rope (skipping to us Brits)– you get the idea”
So there you are. Don’t fall off your bike! And be especially careful during winter’s wet and icy roads.
A bit of cross training will not only be good for your bones, it will be good for your winter fitness.