But wait, does bicycling have anything to offer for those of us who want to build and preserve bone strength? Yes, as long as it's not your primary workout. It's an activity I really enjoy...what fun in the summer to get out on a bicycle for an evening ride, or to ride to work (if you can).
Here are some positives to bicycling:
- It's better than driving – Bicycling provides a good lower-body workout, and as aerobic exercise it boosts mood, benefits circulation, heart, brain, joints, etc.
- Bicycling provides relaxation and stress relief if riding in a peaceful location with green space and pretty landscapes. Lowering your stress hormones (cortisol) helps protect bone loss.
- While riding, focus on maintaining the "home position" with shoulders down and back, abs tight, core stabilized.
- Stand up while riding. When you stand on pedals, bicycling becomes weight bearing.
- Ride up hills to increase resistance. The muscle activity needed to pedal up hill may help stimulate bone growth, but research is not clear.
- Ride over bumpy terrain. Mountain bikers tend to have higher bone density than road bicyclists, as long as they eat well and include calcium in their diet.