The purpose of this study was to determine total and regional bone mineral density (BMD) in highly competitive young adult and master male cyclists. Three groups of men were studied: older cyclists (51.2±5.3 years, n=27); young adult cyclists (31.7±3.5 years, n=16); and 24 non-athletes matched by age (±2 years) and body weight (±2 kg) to the master cyclists. All of the master cyclists had been training and racing for a minimum of 10 years (mean 20.2±8.4 years) and engaging in little to no weight-bearing exercise. The younger cyclists also engaged in little weight-bearing exercise and had been training and racing for 10.9±3.2 years. Age-matched controls were normally active. The History of Leisure Activity Questionnaire was used to determine the influence on BMD of self-reported total and weight-bearing exercise during three periods of life: 12–18 years, 19–34 years, and 35–49 years. BMD (measured by DXA) of the spine (L2–L4) and total hip was significantly (P<0.033) lower in the master cyclists compared to both age-matched controls and young adult cyclists. Total body BMD was lower in the master cyclists compared to the young-adults (P<0.033). Furthermore, four (15%) of the master cyclists, but none of the men in the other groups, had T-scores (spine and/or hip) lower than –2.5. Weight-bearing exercise performed during teen and young adult years did not appear to influence BMD, as there were no differences at any site between those within the upper and lower 50th percentiles for weight-bearing exercise during the 12–18, 19–34, or 35–49 year time periods. These data indicate that master cyclists with a long history of training exclusively in cycling have low BMD compared to their age-matched peers. Although highly trained and physically fit, these athletes may be at high risk for developing osteoporosis with advancing age.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Rizzoli R, Schaad MA, Uebelhart B (2001) Osteoporosis in men. Nurs Clin North Am 36:467–479
Dalsky GP, Stocke KS, Ehsani AA, Slatopolsky E, Lee WC, Birge SJ (1988) Weight-bearing exercise training and lumbar bone mineral content in postmeopausal women. Ann Int Med 108:824–828
Menkes A, Mazel S, Redmund RA et al. (1993) Strength training increases regional bone mineral density and bone remodeling in middle-aged and older men. J Appl Physiol 74:2478–2484
Welten, DC, Kemper HC, Post GB et al. (1994) Weight-bearing activity during youth is a more important factor for peak bone mass than calcium intake. J Bone Miner Res 9:1089–1096
Rubin CT, Lanyon LE (1985) Regulation of bone mass by mechanical strain magnitude. Calcif Tissue Int 37:411–417
Umemura Y, Ishiko T, Tsujimoto H (1995) The effects of jump training on bone hypertrophy in young and old rats. Int J Sports Med 16:364–367
Bassey EJ, Littlewood JJ, Taylor SJ (1997) Relations between compressive axial forces in an instrumented massive femoral implant, ground reaction forces, and integrated electromyographs from vastus lateralis during various osteogenic exercises. J Biomech 30:213–223
Andreoli A, Monteleone M, Van Loan M, Prmenzio L, Tarantino U, De Lorenzo A (2001) Effects of different sports on bone density and muscle mass in highly trained athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc 33:507–511
Calbet JAL, Diaz P, Herrera, Rodriguez LP (1999) High bone mineral density in male elite professional volleyball players. Osteoporos Int 10:468–474
Morel J, Combe B, Francisco J, Bernard J (2001) Bone mineral density of 704 amateur sportsmen involved in different physical activities. Osteoporos Int 12:152–157
Mackelvie KJ, McKay HA, Khan KM, Crocker PR (2001) A school-based exercise intervention augments bone mineral accrual in pubertal girls. J Pediatr 139:501–508
Baldwin KM, White TP, Arnaud SB et al. (1996) Musculoskeletal adaptations to weightlessness and development of effective countermeasures. Med Sci Sports Exerc 10:1247–1253
Leblanc AD, Schneider VS, Harlan JE, Engelbretson DA, Krebs JM (1990) Bone mineral loss and recovery after 17 weeks of bed rest. J Bone Miner Res 5:843–850
Stewart AD, Hannan J (2000) Total and regional bone density in male runners, cyclists, and controls. Med Sci Sports Exerc 32:1373–1377
Taaffe DR, Snow-Harter C, Connolly DA, Robinson TL, Brown MD, Marcus R (1995) Differential effects of swimming versus weight-bearing activity on bone mineral status of eumenorrheic athletes. J Bone Miner Res 10:586–593
Kriska AM, Sandler RB, Cauley JA, LaPorte RE, HomDL, Pambianco G (1988) The assesement of historical physical activity and its relation to adult bone parameters. Am J Epidemiol 127:1053–1063
Chasan-Taber L, Ericson JB, McBride JW, Nasca PC, Chasan-Taber S, Freedson PS (2002) Reproducibility of a self-administered lifetime physical activity questionnaire among female college alumnae. Am J Epidemiol 155:282–289
Frost HM (1997) Why do marathon runners have less bone than weight lifters? A vital-biomechanical view and explanation. Bone 20:183–189
Heinonen A, Oja P, Kannus P, Sievanen H, Haapasalo H, Manttari A, Vuori I (1995) Bone mineral density in female athletes representing sports with different loading characteristics of the skeleton. Bone 17:197–203
Warner SE, Shaw JM, Dalsky GP (2000) Bone mineral density of competitive male mountain and road cyclists. Bone 30:281–286
About this article
Cite this article
Nichols, J.F., Palmer, J.E. & Levy, S.S. Low bone mineral density in highly trained male master cyclists. Osteoporos Int 14, 644–649 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00198-003-1418-z
- Bone mass
- Bone density
- Master athletes