Bike racing, recreational riding, impact sport and bone health
Princess Royal Hospital, Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust, Telford and the Northern General Hospital, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
BMC Medicine 2012, 10:169 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-169
See related research article http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/10/168.Published: 20 December 2012
Cycling has been shown to confer considerable benefits in terms of health, leading to reductions in death rates principally due to cardiovascular improvements and adaptation.
Given the disparity between the benefits of cycling on cardiovascular fitness and previous research finding that cycling may not be beneficial for bone health, Hugo Olmedillas and colleagues performed a systematic review of the literature. They concluded that road cycling does not appear to confer any significant osteogenic benefit. They postulate that the cause of this is that, particularly at a competitive level, riders spend long periods of time in a weight-supported position on the bike.
Training programs may be supplemented with impact loading to preserve bone health; however, the small increased risk of soft tissue injury must also be considered.