An NRC Research Press study published in July 2013 showed bone resorption, which is the breakdown of the bone, was suppressed after cycling in days three and four of a multiday cycling trial. However, the study also showed that bone resorption was higher the morning after each day of the cycling trial compared to the first day of the study.
What does all this mean for cyclists? It means that the day after you ride, your body may be breaking down bone. We've known for a long time that cycling isn't a bone-building activity because it's not weight-bearing. However, these findings demonstrate that cyclists, particularly those who ride many days in a row over a period of weeks, months or years may be at an increased risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures.
If you're an avid cyclist, or you use cycling as your main form of exercise, you may want to consider having a bone-nutrition checkup.
Your body needs four key nutrients to keep your bones strong: calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin C. Grab a piece of paper and a pencil, and take a few minutes to think of the foods you regularly eat, and see if you're giving your bones what they need to stay strong.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, and 99 percent of the body's calcium is stored in the bones. The recommended amount of calcium for adult men and women is 1,000 milligrams per day. However, many people don't get this much calcium. Milk and milk products are the best sources of calcium. You can also get calcium from green leafy vegetables, such as kale, turnip greens and Chinese cabbage.
Fortified foods including calcium-enriched orange juice can also help you increase the amount of calcium you're getting. Be aware that most Greek yogurts have less calcium than regular yogurt. If you like Greek yogurt, read the nutrition-facts panel to see how much calcium it contains.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. It's made in your skin when you're in the sun, sans sunscreen. It's found naturally in a few foods, such as salmon and tuna. The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements recommends 600 international units (IUs) of vitamin D per day for adults. Three ounces of Sockeye salmon contains more than 400 IUs. You can also get vitamin D in fortified foods such as milk, yogurt, cereals and orange juice.
More: What Is Vitamin D?