Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Boning Up

Getting older has never been billed as being fun, at least not once you get past that magical age of ”21” (which was so, so, long ago).

But, just like trying to keep an old car or an old bike up and running, our older bodies (or sbould I say "classic") need more maintenance as time goes on. Here is yet another article that discusses the importance of weight and strength training as a way to stave off osteoporosis and osteopenia. 

The reality is, exercises like cycling, and swimming, just don’t cut it when it comes to bone strength. The more you stress the bones, the stronger they will become, providing you have adequate nutrition with calcium and vitamin D.

Wolff's Law states that bones will adapt to the degree of mechanical loading, such that an increase in loading will cause the architecture of the internal, spongy bone to strengthen, followed by the strengthening of the cortical layer.” 

And while I'm targeting my message to my peers (cranky old cyclists), this is important for everyone, and the article above also talked about the risks of inactivity in adolescence and how that leads to weaker bones (among other health issues) later in life. 

As to what exercises you should participate in, well, there are about a million ways to build strength, some using weights, some using tractor tires, and lately I’ve been tossing and carrying around 40 pound sandbags while also wearing a 30lb back pack. Find what works for you but find something that’s fun and something that works on your weak areas. Cyclists tend to work on the legs, because those muscles are the primary movers in cycling, but you really want to build upper body strength to promote good bone health in your arms and shoulders. Broken wrists and collarbones can be very common after sailing over the bars.

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