Why avoid stationary bicycle as exercise?

In the second edition of "Walk Tall" it says to avoid using stationary bicycles for exercise if you have osteoporosis. What is the reason for this? (I was going to send an email to author Sara Meeks but I can't find her email address.) Thanks very much.

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Hi, I found this (rather depressing) site

http://www.womenscycling.ca/blog/health-tips/protect-dem-bones-cycling-and- osteoporosis/

I have read before bicycling isn't weight bearing. I have a wonderful bicycle but almost feel guilty riding it, I feel I should spend my exercise time doing more bony activities.

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I still ride my bike but alternate between sitting on the seat and standing up when pedaling. Every little bit of weight bearing activity helps.

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In addition to stationary bike riding not being weight bearing, there might be a reason to avoid it having to do with posture and stress on the spine--Sara can answer that question.

I used to focus just on brisk walking for my aerobic exercise, figuring I was also helping my hip bone density. But once I found out that regular walking isn't really all that helpful for increasing bone density I decided that anything that didn't hurt my spine or hips was fair game for the aerobic part of my exercise routine and that I'd focus on various kinds of resistance exercises for the bone density.

So if the stationary bike isn't actually harmful, it might be worth keeping it in your routine to strengthen your cardiovascular health.

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I RIDE MINE, BUT IT IS A RECOMBENT - I CALL IT MY LOW RIDER ! I RIDE IT AT 30 MINUTE INTERVALS AND I DONT' RIDE FOR MY BONES I RIDE TO STRENGTHEN MY KNEES - I ALSO USE THE RECOMBENT AS PART OF MY PHYSIO DURING SESSIONS - IT MAY NOT STRENGTHEN BONE BUT IT DOES STRENGTHEN MUSCLE AND THAT IS WHAT I AM TRYING TO DO. WHEN I RIDE THE PROGRAM I CHALLENGE MYSELF FOR THE TENSION BUT NOT TOO MUCH. I'LL KEEP RIDING MY RECOMBENT....

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Hello and glad to have such a discussion.
Riding a bicycle, stationary or moving, generally speaking, is minimal or non-weight-bearing exercise. For that reason, I recommend walking, dancing, jogging etc for weight-bearing exercise. Weight-bearing exercise means bearing body weight through the bones, not lifting weights or doing resistance exercise--that is different. There are gradations of weight-bearing--for example, standing up on a bicycle or elliptical trainer would add some weight-bearing.
However, according to recent research, it is important to have odd-impact on the bones for best results. That means walking backwards, sidewards, on uneven surfaces etc. Also, to get more aerobic impact, use walking poles. They promote a more upright posture, add weight-bearing to the upper body, increase cardiac workout, and are athletic-appearing compared to canes and walkers. They also help unweight the lower extremities which can be helpful for people with knee/hip/ankle/low back pain or arthritis.
Be sure to be safe whatever you do and consult with a knowledgeable health professional or trainer as you go along with your program.

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THANKS SARAH, I DO USE THE WALKING POLES AND YES I FIND MY POSTURE IS MORE UPRIGHT WITH THEM, I WOULD LOVE TO USE THEM ALL THE TIME, HOWEVER, WHEN YOU LIVE IN A RAIN FORRESTED AREA AND YOUR SPRING IS RAIN, RAIN, AND MORE RAIN, ITS HARD TO USE THE POLES AND HOLD AN UMBRELLA LOL .... HERE'S TO SUMMER, LESS RAIN AND MORE POLE WALKING !

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This may be a dumb question, but I have never heard of walking poles. What are they?

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See this link below it will show you the poles and how they are used. These are called Nordic but there are many different brands:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJY6_DLJ2Kg

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Thanks for the link, DeskJockey101. I'm going to look into this now.

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I am interested in the "odd-impact" exercises. How long would one need to do this to be effective? i.e. if I add 5 minutes of the odd-impact to my daily walk, would that be enough to have a significant impact?

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I have been doing cardio on an eliptical machine and have started using the weight machines. Has anyone heard that this is not a good idea for osteoporosis. It feels O.K.

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I have been doing cardio on an eliptical machine and have started using the weight machines. Has anyone heard that this is not a good idea for osteoporosis. It feels O.K.

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If you tolerate cycling, the biggest risk is a fall from the bike. It is not weight bearing but it is excellant from a cardio vascular viewpoint. I rode a bike for years as my cardio exercise, and walked for my weight bearing. Due to other issues related to the spinal cord, i can no longer do either. But I spend about 5 hrs a day on my feet in my garden.

nn

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Thanks, Sara, for replying so quickly to this question. I have not been able to access easily my mail the past 2 weeks.
I want to add to the bicycle discussion that one's posture is very apt to suffer ---- a bent-over position is all too easy a bad habit. Good posture while exercising is key to best results. We do not want to invite further kyphosis (forward bend of the spine).
And yes, the walking poles -- Nordic poles -- are great -- especially for those with musculoskeletal problems already.
Lucy Buckley PT aka Mother Goose

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Hi BB3:
There is absolutely no balance stimulation when you use a stationary bike. True you can get cardio as suggested above but there are much better ways for everyone to get cardio than a stationary bike or treadmill. The bike sitting position does place additional stress on the spine increasing the risk of vertebral fractures.

If you have further questions or would like to join our osteoporosis support group please feel free to email me at bebonestrong@sequoiahealth.com.

Woody McMahon

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Hi ashala:
It is not the best approach to exercise but it is exercise. Machines do not stimulate balance which is important for fall prevention and the elliptical does not provide important lateral movement and body control necessary for fall prevention.

You can get the best workout possible by doing free weights incorporated with walking, dancing, lunging, skipping, etc.
Woody

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Thanks for the info. I just use the elliptical for burning calories anyhow. The more important body work gets covered with my Yoga practice, balance, strength, flexability.

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Still not the best strategy...
Woody

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MY STATIONARY BIKE IS A RECOMBENT RECOMMENDED BY A PHYSIO THERAPIST YEARS AGO AND WAS PURCHASED FOR MY KNEE CONDITION. I DO NOT LEAN FORWARD ON MY BIKE - I DO MORE WALKING, WEIGHTS, AND BANDS THEN I DO THE BIKE, BUT ITS STILL PART OF MY ROUTINE. I ALSO DO SITE SPECIFIC STRETCHES FROM MY PHYSIO THERAPIST ALSO. I WOULD SAY ALL IN ALL I HAVE A GOOD ROUTINE.

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Thanks for all of the good info. I have a regular bike, but DR. advises me to not go riding, in case I should fall. My Pulmonary Dr. said to get an exercise bike just for the breathing part, to keep my lungs from getting stiff...I have stage 4 Sarcoidosis..but I had sold it, and now use my rowing machine to get my heart rate up and mostly for my breathing. Dr. said to not get my heart rate up too much, due to the lung damage, etc. Certainly is a juggling act trying to help myself get as strong as I can!

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