Health Risks of Professional Cycling

When doing sports at a professional level and competing with some of the world’s best athletes, there are certainly some risks to having such a lifestyle. Professional cycling is no different to any other sport where you take your body to the limit, and sometimes even more, with performance enhancers, illegal ones, at that.

Here is what you should know about potential health risks which professional cyclists might face.

Skeletal Issues

Cycling is a very specific sport where you sit most of the time and pedal around. Since you do not carry any extra weight, your bones are not prone to exercise. Why should bones have any exercise, you ask? Well, simply put, if you do not have enough bone density, you will be prone to getting osteopenia and osteoporosis.

A study done by researchers of the University of Oklahoma on professional cyclists aged 18 to 45 revealed that nearly all of them had lower bone density and some even had osteopenia. This is similar, if not lower bone density to their non-cycling peers.

The newer generations, however, have a different approach to training which includes bone-building exercises such as weightlifting. It is not uncommon for cyclists to hit the gym heavily during the rough winter periods.

Heart Problems

Doing any endurance exercise increases your heart muscle which is great for the endurance-based races and exercises. The bigger it is, the more blood it can pump to your muscles. Atrial fibrillation, often considered a lesser and therefore, less risky form of arrhythmia, is common in cyclists. It is the condition where your heart pumps irregularly during an exercise, more often faster than it should.

There were reports of cyclists having cardiac arrests, mostly younger cyclists, during a workout or even during competitions. Even though cycling and other endurance exercises do wonders for your heart and cardiovascular system, too much of exercise could be detrimental to your health.

There have been talks about cycling affecting male sexuality and fertility but have since been refuted. Cycling, as any exercise, is beneficial to the body, especially since it is a very low impact exercise for the joints.

People are often found repairing and tending to their damaged knees by cycling as it offers muscle exercise without the added tension one would get from running or far be it, jumping.

Cycling, as any other sport, when taken to the top level, offers a lot of benefits, but it doesn’t come without its own risks, albeit minimal if done correctly.