A Hop, Skip and a Jump to Healthier Bones

Tour of Denmark - Photo Lars RonbogCor Vos ©2014

If you have read plastic surgeon and avid cyclist, Dr Roger Graham’s recent blog: “Warning: Cycling Causes Brittle Bones (Osteoporosis)” or heard him interviewed, by John Maytham on 567 Cape Talk recently, you may have been alarmed if cycling is your exclusive form of exercise.

Dr Graham has been an avid and competitive cyclist who had a relatively minor fall from his bike that resulted in disproportionately severe fractures of his pelvis and right hip joint. “Given my passion for cycling over the last 30 of my 44years (to the exclusion of any other sport) and considering the ease with which my bones broke, I thought it wise to have my bone density checked.” He discovered that his bone density was that of a 80-year-old’s and he is 44.

From his own experience and other studies, there is the potential for developing osteoporosis if cycling is your exclusive form of exercise over an extended number of years.

The good news is that bone cells can be stimulated to produce more bone by getting the muscles and tendons to pull on the bones though engaging in weight-bearing or load-bearing exercise. Activities that imparts impact like skipping and jumping have a greater effect than low- and moderate-intensity activities.

Here are some exercises to help you strengthen ‘dem bones:

Don’t skip this
This high impact activity is great for building bone density. Get a skipping rope, and begin skipping by propelling yourself off the ground with a forceful push and raise your knees up towards your chest. The higher the lift, the greater the benfit. Do three sets of 16 with a minutes rest between each set.

The pirate’s party trick
Hopping on one leg increases balance and power. Holding your head up high and arms out for balance hop forward in biggish leaps. Do this on one leg for 30 reps and then repeat using the other leg. This action causes the muscles to load and contract in quick sequence which helps increase power in your legs.

Jack–on-the-box
Stand infront of a (stable) box or a large single step and jump onto it with both feet in a unified action. Jump off it again landing on both feet. Do this in quick succession until your speed starts dropping off.

  • steve

    Yep but that’s why off road is better, we (MTB riders) need to be able to run and cross train to stay capable of surviving and enjoying a marathon off road race. Roadies are soft due to the type of riding they do.