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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 02-04-11, 10:03 PM   #1
RunningPirate
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Sick more often?

Good Evening to Everyone on the Board -

I'm currently fighting off some head chest thing and reflecting on the fact that this will be the fourth time in about 12 mos that I've gotten sick. Mind you, I never used to get sick, then it was only 1x year (around X mas/New Years). Now, 4x/year.

Someone told me that now that I've lost weight, there's less to fight off colds and flu's. Has anyone else heard that? If so, does that mean that by a) eating better, b) exercising more, c) losing weight, and d) virtually eliminating drinking, I'm now going to be a candidate for URI's?

Please tell me that this is incorrect. I just couldn't handle the irony of it all...
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Old 02-05-11, 12:42 AM   #2
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Wow RP.... I've never heard of that! Unless you had very rapid weight loss over a short period of time - which could stress your immune system for awhile - I doubt that all the work you've put in to getting healthy, would make you more prone to URIs or anything else related, for that matter.

Certainly the long-term health benefits of eating well, exercising routinely and reducing alcohol consumption are ENORMOUS, and I congratulate you on your success!! .... oooh...poor choice on my part....

Over training can lead to suppressed immunity - but as long as you have rest days - listen to your body and rest when your body makes it clear you need it - as long as your nutrition is balanced, that shouldn't be a problem.

Something else to consider... the last few years of flu viral strains have been particularly nasty.

I'm not a doctor... nor do I play one on TV ... but I do work in healthcare and have had an interest in health/nutrition/fitness and overall well being, for 30yrs. And as a scientist.... I now feel compelled to research this "less to fight off colds and flu" idea.
Meanwhile... keep up the excellent work and enjoy the rides!!
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Old 02-05-11, 03:52 AM   #3
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I say B.S. on losing weight making you more susceptible to illness. As mentioned ^^^^^ you're probably over training and not taking enough "rest" days. Either that, or you're hanging around a bunch of sick people all the time.

My question to you is though, are these URI's "major" where you're bed ridden or just kind of "minor" where it's an irritation, you feel down a little bit but can still function? If it's the latter, I would say keep doing what you're doing exercise wise but just scale it back a bit on a couple days to give your body the rest it needs.

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Old 02-05-11, 07:27 AM   #4
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Everything I've ever read says that regular exercise strengthens the immune system. But, as has been said above, too much of anything is, simply, too much. Rest/ recovery is just as important as the workouts are.
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Old 02-05-11, 08:09 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by RunningPirate View Post
Good Evening to Everyone on the Board -

I'm currently fighting off some head chest thing and reflecting on the fact that this will be the fourth time in about 12 mos that I've gotten sick. Mind you, I never used to get sick, then it was only 1x year (around X mas/New Years). Now, 4x/year.

Someone told me that now that I've lost weight, there's less to fight off colds and flu's. Has anyone else heard that? If so, does that mean that by a) eating better, b) exercising more, c) losing weight, and d) virtually eliminating drinking, I'm now going to be a candidate for URI's?

Please tell me that this is incorrect. I just couldn't handle the irony of it all...
I don't think it's correct, I think it's financial. When the economy is good and someone gets sick, they stay home and recover, when the economy is bad, people don't dare stay home, lest they move their name up the list of people to get rid of. Of course that means illnesses move around a lot more.
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Old 02-05-11, 10:11 AM   #6
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I've never heard anything about weight loss leading to increased infection-based illnesses. The closest I've ever read was many years ago, in an article about Andy Hampsten of the old 7-11 team, talking about how overtraining can lead to persistent coughs and low-grade fevers. But it was pretty clear it was an exhaustion-based problem and not weight-related.
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Old 02-05-11, 10:55 AM   #7
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Everything I've ever read says that regular exercise strengthens the immune system.
Agree with this. I used to get sick quite often. Now that I'm exercising regularly, colds/flu seem to happen much less often (and seem less severe when they do happen)...
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Old 02-05-11, 10:56 AM   #8
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Time for a doctor visit.
You may be loosing weight because you are sick.
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Old 02-05-11, 11:45 AM   #9
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I’ve experienced the same thing as the OP. However in my case, I’ve noticed that this has always been independent of weight-loss and strictly dependent on the stringing together too many intense workouts on consecutive days. Here's an interesting viewpoint that makes sense to me because it reflects what I've experienced . . . It claims that regular moderate exercise is indeed good for the immune system, but any period of regular intense exercise raises our levels of the hormone cortisol which has a negative effect on the immune system. The solution is to give yourself a longer rest in between intense workouts and/or maintain a schedule of frequent moderate ones.
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Old 02-05-11, 03:43 PM   #10
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I think that's total woo. It doesn't quite negate the germ/virus origins of disease, but comes close.
If anything, exercise is helping your immune system, unless you're overdoing it.
Instead of worrying about your weight loss as the cause, I would give some thought to exposure. For example, do you go to the gym? That's a hotbed of germs, and lots of people go to the gym, even with colds and flu. I have no idea what your life is like, but it's likely something changed over the past year that's causing you to be exposed more to germs and viruses.
Also, a lot of people forget to wash their hands regularly. Instead they rely on those gels, or nothing at all. A good handwashing with soap is still the best way to get rid of those germs.
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Old 02-09-11, 09:15 AM   #11
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I'd say I'm more disease resistant now than when I was 400 pounds.
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Old 02-09-11, 12:54 PM   #12
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RunningPirate, I can't speak to your situation, but I'll share my sickly story. I have been training pretty steady since the first of the year. Riding indoors and run/ walking outdoors. Fast forward to last Friday when I was at the ER with a pain in my chest and coughing up blood. Many tests and x-rays later, they have determined that I have pneumonia. I'm told that it takes 4-6 weeks to get to the point I am at now,and another 4 weeks before I'm normal again. My symptoms were minimal and only had maybe three fevers in the last month. I have lung issues (RAD), so didn't think much about the breathing difficulties and wheezing. My expert advice: GO TO THE DOCTOR!!! Please don't wait like I did. I can't run or ride now, and can barely walk 200ft. without being short of breath. Yes, I'm kicking myself. On the bright side, I am losing weight (I'll probably gain it back) due to no appetite.
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Old 02-09-11, 01:34 PM   #13
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I would give some thought to exposure. For example, do you go to the gym? That's a hotbed of germs, and lots of people go to the gym, even with colds and flu. I have no idea what your life is like, but it's likely something changed over the past year that's causing you to be exposed more to germs and viruses.
Also, a lot of people forget to wash their hands regularly. Instead they rely on those gels, or nothing at all. A good handwashing with soap is still the best way to get rid of those germs.
Environmental changes get my vote. Anyway, congratulations on your weight loss!
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Old 02-09-11, 04:08 PM   #14
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Everything I've ever read says that regular exercise strengthens the immune system. But, as has been said above, too much of anything is, simply, too much. Rest/ recovery is just as important as the workouts are.
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Agree with this. I used to get sick quite often. Now that I'm exercising regularly, colds/flu seem to happen much less often (and seem less severe when they do happen)...
x2 on that. My wife will catch a cold and a couple of days later I have, then another couple of days and I'm better, while she is still sick.
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Old 02-13-11, 11:01 PM   #15
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If you are riding in the cold, to you cover your mouth, or have another way to filter the cold air?

After I started to commute full time on a bike, I would get persistent coughs, and they would lead to both bronchitis and asthma. Which required the Dr.
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Old 02-14-11, 05:15 AM   #16
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I'd say I'm more disease resistant now than when I was 400 pounds.
+1 But it was 378 pounds for me.

Although, since I moved from running to biking, I've been sick twice (last week with strep throat.) I'm attributing it to the downturn in exercise. I had to build up the cycling muscles and it's taken a few months to get to where I'm able to get my HR up and not burn out the quads (oh, that and getting my saddle height right.)
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Old 02-14-11, 06:56 AM   #17
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If my feeble mind recalls correctly, you're immune system is depresses for about 8 hours after a big workout. I'm not a germaphobe and I've never used any now common hand 'sanitizer' but I try to watch who/what I contact after a hard workout. I eat well, rest and try not to get chilled.
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Old 02-15-11, 07:15 AM   #18
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There is some evidence that during weight oss, as you empty the fat cells any toxins that were stored are released into your system, which can result in fatigue, headaches, depression, and a slightly depressed immune system (probably some other stuff too), but as has been said multiple times, exercise (with rest in between) should more then offset this.

I'll say this, everyone around me seems a lot sicker this year then previous years. People I talk to in San Fran, Denver, Austin, you name it all say the same thing. Seems this year is just seeing a lot more sickness.
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Old 02-15-11, 07:51 AM   #19
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While I disagree about being sick more often, I will say I'm more likely to be injured now that I'm active instead of sedentary.
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