Kidney Stones and Cycling

For years I would have a kidney stone every other year.  Seemed to be guaranteed that it would happen.  But now since I started cycling regularly, I haven’t had one in 5 years.  I’m not sure why that is.  Could be some coincidence?  A search will show many cyclists do have kidney stones, and I’ve chatted with a few of them.  I’ve read that getting regular exercise may help keep kidney stones away.  But doctors sure can’t tell you just what to do to keep them away. 

Is cycling good for kidney stones?

If regular exercise is good for kidney stones, then maybe.  Maybe when down getting aero your knees kinda work the kidneys to loosen any potential stones.  Maybe the bumps of the road will loosen potential stones.  I really don’t know.  But maybe it’s working for me.

Can cycling cause kidney stones?

I don’t think it can cause kidney stones per se.  But if a cyclist lets himself get dehydrated on a really long ride and sweats rather than urinates, that could be a problem.  Also, if he’s snacking on protein bars while dehydrated, that could also be a problem.  Drinking lots of sports drinks could also cause issues as they do have sodium.

I’m not a doctor or medical expert of any kind, I’m just a poor guy who’s had too many kidney stones.  But since I’m on a good streak I wanted to share what I’ve been doing while on this streak.  Maybe it will help someone, kidney stones are a horrible thing.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

Cycling

I don’t know why, but I haven’t had a stone since I’ve been regularly riding.  I mostly ride road bike, so I do feel the bumps in the road.  I try to stay hydrated and rarely have super long rides.  If I get out for 2 hours on weekend days, I’m really happy.  My normal weekday rides are only 25-30 minutes.

Stay Hydrated

I try to always be drinking something and always have a glass of water before bed.  I want to keep the system flowing.  I drink mostly flavored green tea, vitamin waters, and just plain water in the evening.  It’s especially important to stay hydrated when exercising. 

Magnesium and B6

There was a study done that suggested that taking magnesium and B6 can reduce the chances of forming a stone.  I only take it like once a week, but I would take it more if I was still having issues.

Magnesium and Vitamin B6 for Kidney Stone Prevention (rejuvenation-science.com)

Roller Coasters

My last stone was after we went to Disney World, got it right upon returning home.  Coincidently I read about this study:

Kidney Stone? Try a Roller Coaster Ride (webmd.com)

I went on the rides mentioned in the study. 

So now I go on the bumpy roller coasters whenever I can.   Due to covid, I didn’t get on any last year.

Avoid Oxalates

I really only avoid spinach, it’s the only high oxalate food that I ever remember.  But hey, maybe it’s working for me.  I’ve read that if you are going to have high oxalate foods to also have calcium. 

Don’t go high protein

I try to keep my diet very balanced and won’t go on any sort of high protein or low carb diet.  I mostly watch my calories and try to eat all the food groups. 

Avoid high sodium

I do my best to avoid high sodium foods and haven’t used salt as a condiment since I started having stones. 

Drink Lemonade

Studies have shown the citric acid or citrate may break up small stones and stop new stones from forming. Lemonade is full of citric acid as well as many other lemon flavored drinks.

Citric acid and kidney stones UW Health

Don’t take huge doses of any vitamin, mineral, or supplements

I think taking huge doses of things could easily throw the system out of wack and maybe lead to a stone.  I take these Kirkland gummy vitamins ever since covid started, but the dose is 2 and I only take 1 per day.  The other supplements I take weekly rather than daily.  I try to eat balanced so hopefully I’m not low on anything anyway.

Ok that’s all that I’m doing currently.  Hope it will help someone out there.

The internet is full of a bunch of generic pages telling you how to avoid kidney stones, but I think this is one of the most helpful websites I found about kidney stones:

Kidney Stone Evaluation And Treatment Program (uchicago.edu)

If what I’m doing doesn’t help you, maybe that site can.  It helped me develop what I’m doing now.

Photo by Ir Solyanaya on Pexels.com

9 thoughts on “Kidney Stones and Cycling

  1. Great read. And a good motivational push to get cycling too. I lapsed since the kids grew up and the bike became a plant holder. I do though have high levels of uric acid, which incidently smoking lowers, and this is associated with both kidney stones and inflammatory arthritis. So, spinach is out but I’ve been plant based for a bit too. Keep up the advice giving it comes off the screen very well. I’ll let you know when I get a bike too so follow you for top tips there as well. Nice One. Thanks You.

    Liked by 2 people

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