We don’t think much about our bones until something breaks, but as with most health issues, prevention is key. Bone mineral density (BMD) is one of several indicators of how susceptible bones are to fracture, and it is measured using Dual X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA). A DXA scan measures three components of body composition: bone mass, fat mass, and lean mass, making it not only the most accurate for BMD measurement but also for body fat percentage. Diagnosis of low bone mass is based upon age and gender comparisons using “T or Z scores” which are calculated by the DXA software.
When it comes to bone health, athletes are generally thought to be exemplary, but cycling is a non-weight bearing sport, thus it does not provide the stimulus needed to maintain or improve BMD. Research has shown that BMD values decrease during the racing season with minimal improvements during the off season. Compared to other sports, cyclists have lower BMD in the spine compared to runners and triathletes and often, they are at greater risk for low BMD than inactive individuals. As BMD is lost, it is an uphill battle to regain and increase it.
Regina Hammond, MS is the Director of Nutrition at Trismarter Triathlon Coaching and Nutrition. When she isn’t running up Pikes Peak Regina is creating custom hydration and fueling plans for age group athletes who successfully compete in half-ironman 70.3 and ironman triathlons including the World Championship. Staying abreast of the latest research she believes in an individualized approach to nutrition. With a background in competitive swimming, biking and running, she understands what it takes to be a competitive triathlete and works with clients on performance fueling plans, periodized nutrition plans, weight loss, and behavior change. Contact Trismarter Triathlon Coaching & Nutrition to make your triathlon dreams a reality!