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  1. #1
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    Importance of high impact activity on bones

    I have heard a lot about how good "low impact" activity is and how a lot of bicyclists shun high impact activities like running, but it seems that research is showing that bicyclists, particularly road bikers, have weak bones and are more prone to injury. I have switched over to running shoes without cushion and after the initial sore calves, I am amazed at how my feet are now acting like springs, absorbing the impact in a natural way, as opposed to the heel strike with cushioned shoes. I mountain bike, backpack, run, and ski. I am 63 (today!) and have worn a knee brace for a number of years, but now I feel like I hardly need to use it anymore, except for skiing. Just wanted to share this, as I think there is a lot of misinformation going around on this subject and it seems everyone I know is getting artificial knees. I always think, "Why are you getting artificial knees? You don't even run. I am the one who has been trashing on my knees for years!"

  2. #2
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    Ironic that you bring this up after I suffer yet another running related stress fracture in one of my feet.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpressnall View Post
    ...it seems everyone I know is getting artificial knees. I always think, "Why are you getting artificial knees? You don't even run. I am the one who has been trashing on my knees for years!"
    Yeah I see so many non-active folks going for new knees and wonder the same thing. I had signs of arthritic knees in my mid 30's but have adjusted my activities over time. Over 15 years ago I decided to give up 'pounding' activities like running and basketball and picked up the slack by riding more. At 58 I still mountain bike 3X/week and ski aggressively every winter. My knees hurt every damn morning getting out of bed but once I get moving I'm fine. I'm probably a candidate for knee replacement but I'm not going there...too many unknowns. Much better option for me to manage the condition knowing I can still ride and ski.
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  4. #4
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    Lots of variables that go into it including; genetics, pre-existing injuries (known and unknown), dietary issues, etc. Look for the book "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. Good information in there regarding how the body adjusts to what you use while running, the terrain, how diet can impact your injury recovery time, etc.

    For me, many years ago I had issues with shin splints after I had gained weight during college and had a number of years of being fairly inactive after years of being an athlete. When I read the book, I changed a few things, went to a more natural running stance and posture and found that the shin splints disappeared and have never come back. Back issues were something that also plagued me but making some other adjustments (like minor stretching during the day) has worked wonders.

  5. #5
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    The more I learn about this stuff, the more I think modern running shoes are destroying people's bodies. We are so conditioned to believe all the cushioning and orthotics protect us, but we Americans have more problems with our feet and joints than people in primitive societies that go barefoot or just wear moccasins. All this stuff is locking our feet up, causing heel strike, and not allowing for natural gait, then we blame running on the problem. At least that's my take.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpressnall View Post
    I have heard a lot about how good "low impact" activity is and how a lot of bicyclists shun high impact activities like running, but it seems that research is showing that bicyclists, particularly road bikers, have weak bones and are more prone to injury. I have switched over to running shoes without cushion and after the initial sore calves, I am amazed at how my feet are now acting like springs, absorbing the impact in a natural way, as opposed to the heel strike with cushioned shoes. I mountain bike, backpack, run, and ski. I am 63 (today!) and have worn a knee brace for a number of years, but now I feel like I hardly need to use it anymore, except for skiing. Just wanted to share this, as I think there is a lot of misinformation going around on this subject and it seems everyone I know is getting artificial knees. I always think, "Why are you getting artificial knees? You don't even run. I am the one who has been trashing on my knees for years!"
    You are woefully misinformed if you are equating strong bones with strong knees. You might want to understand why folks require knee replacement before commenting further.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by fillaroida View Post
    You are woefully misinformed if you are equating strong bones with strong knees. You might want to understand why folks require knee replacement before commenting further.
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    Thank you for the input, as you probably represent the belief of most people. I would not want to suggest that someone with a preexisting condition or injury should necessarily partake in a high impact activity. I do think modern running shoes and orthotics have taken there toll on people's joints, as they lock the foot up and cause heel strike, not allowing for the natural gait and pronation the absorbs impacts. Here is an article I read that might be of interest http://www.skillbasedfitness.com/is-...se-bad-for-me/ There are many others, but that may get you thinking outside the box a bit.

  9. #9
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    I'm a trail runner, so hopefully I'm impacting the bones enough to be beneficial while not impacting the knees too much to be detrimental.
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  10. #10
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    You guys, Born To Run and the minimalist shoe/barefoot running thing is almost a decade old and the running community as a whole has moved away from those ideas. It was fun reading but it was embellishment, not science. Heel strike versus forefoot strike doesn't matter as long as you're not over-striding. If you're really interested in this topic then buy this book: https://www.amazon.com/Running-Rewir...s=jay+dicharry

    DiCharry is a real researcher. McDougal is just a writer.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpressnall View Post
    Thank you for the input, as you probably represent the belief of most people.
    Yeah, most people like those Doctor people who will tell you that high impact activities, like running, do not mitigate knee replacements. Most knee replacements are due to osteoarthritis - which is exacerbated by high impact activities. You have it backwards.

    As someone who has good bone strength but a really shitty knee, I understand that the knee is complex and it’s stability relies on a combination of muscle strength, ligament tightness and amount/quality of cartilage - not bone strength.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpressnall View Post
    seems everyone I know is getting artificial knees. I always think, "Why are you getting artificial knees? You don't even run. I am the one who has been trashing on my knees for years!"
    1) Most 60 year olds are carrying around 50+ pounds of extra weight
    2) Until recent history, you were pretty fortunate to be alive at 60 and didn't usually complain about a sore knee.

  13. #13
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    Perhaps you are like me and have had knee injuries in the past. I tore my ACL skiing years ago and had meniscus damage, plus bone spurs developed, but my knees feel better now at 63 than they did 15 years ago. I never take pain medication, and rely on my body to tell me to take it easy or not. Have also reduced sugar intake and other crap in my diet and take anti inflammatory herbs. I telemark ski, mogul ski, run, mountain bike, and do trail work carrying about 30 pounds of gear up and down trails. I do all the "bad" things for my knees, while my friends, who never run or ski as hard as I do are getting knee replacements. You are right- I have it backwards!

  14. #14
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    Weightlifting will improve bone density, don't have to go full Arnold to reap the benefits either.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    You guys, Born To Run and the minimalist shoe/barefoot running thing is almost a decade old and the running community as a whole has moved away from those ideas. It was fun reading but it was embellishment, not science. Heel strike versus forefoot strike doesn't matter as long as you're not over-striding. If you're really interested in this topic then buy this book: https://www.amazon.com/Running-Rewir...s=jay+dicharry

    DiCharry is a real researcher. McDougal is just a writer.
    My thoughts as well.

    Modern shoes/boots were not invented to change the "natural" gait. They absorb impact because impact is what causes injury. We're living longer and we need our bodies not to wear out. It's not a matter of conditioning. Cave man human just didn't live as long nor expect to be as athletic into old age as we do now.

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