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“The difference in bone mineral density observed between runners and cyclists appears to be attributed to the difference in mechanical strain exerted on the skeleton by gravitational forces,” said the study’s authors.
A similar conclusion was found in a study of elite swimmers who had lower bone density measurements when compared with non-aquatic elite athletes.
“Whole bone mineral density values follow a decreasing order for volleyball, soccer, field hockey, water polo, swimming, synchronized swimming and controls,” stated the researchers.
Given these results, cyclists and aquatic athletes should incorporate body weight exercises into their lifestyle. A brisk walk or run will do the trick, especially if part of the walk includes bursts of speed, which increases the intensity of ground forces. An increasingly large body of research suggests that high-impact, high-intensity and multidirectional exercises are better than moderate-intensity exercise in building and keeping bones strong.