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Cold weather and icky health

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Cold weather and icky health

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Old 01-01-12, 06:54 PM
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Cold weather and icky health

I'm wondering about everyone who rides in sub-40, sub-30, or even sub-0 temp: just how on earth do you stay healthy?

I have good cold weather gear and I understand the benefits of layering vs. the evils of cotton. I managed to get in a modest number of miles this December, a month I often don't put any mileage up.

It just seems that every time I ride in the cold, the odds of feeling like refried crap the next day is at least 50-50.

It's frustrating and disheartening. I'd like to try my hand at randonneuring, but the brevits seem to be front loaded, with the easier brevits occurring in January and February.

I'd love to get some meaningful mileage in this winter, but if I get sick every time I try it, I'll have to head to The Pit (spin class).

Does anyone out there have this issue, and have figured out how to beat it?

I mean this in the nicest possible way, but comments like "Here in Ft. Myers we never ride if it drops below 70" tend to come off as a bit d!ckish.
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Old 01-01-12, 07:25 PM
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Do you really get sick or do you just feel all worn out the next day ?
In cold weather your body needs a lot more fuel than in warm weather
I have worked/played outdoors most of my life and I eat a lot more heavier foods in the winter in order to stay warm
If you are getting actually sick you are over doing it and running your body down
actual sickness = exposure to germs
and in a rundown state you will get sick from germs that wouldnt affect you normally
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Old 01-01-12, 08:34 PM
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It sounds like you may have some immune system issues. Probably a good idea to see a doc. Exercising in cold weather shouldn't make you sick if you're dressed properly and not getting hypothermia.
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Old 01-01-12, 08:47 PM
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cold weather does not translate into sickness.

Are you getting dehydrated? It's very easy to get dehydrated in cold weather (you lose a lot of liquid in breathing).

J.
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Old 01-01-12, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
cold weather does not translate into sickness.
+1

I know of no relationship between cold weather and sickness, except it seems to take more energy to do just about anything in very cold weather. Rest, nutrition, hydration, working within your parameters - all should help.
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Old 01-02-12, 06:48 AM
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+2

Do you think that all those people (including me), who go skiing feel sick the next day? Same for any winter activity. I've ridden a lot into the teens, and have skied at Stowe, VT and Mt. St. Anne in Quebec at 30 below.

As noted sounds like you have underlying health issues.
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Old 01-02-12, 07:07 AM
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+3, Cold weather doesn't make you sick, as said. You have to be exposed to a virus or bacterium to get sick. Eating right and dressing properly with appropriate layering for your locale will go a long way. I work in construction and we are outside no matter the temperature, we respect the need for warm clothing and will dress up and strip of layers as necessary. I agree wholeheartedly in getting you overall health condition checked out. Something has to be leading to the sick or run down feeling you have.

Best of luck and don't give up on cold weather exercise.

Bill
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Old 01-02-12, 08:46 AM
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If anything, cold weather outdoors is healthier - cold is tough on bacteria and viruses.

J.
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Old 01-02-12, 08:55 AM
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Thanks all.

According to The Literture, cold temps are not supposed to predispose you to colds and stuff. There is also preliminary info that exercise reduces cold risk.

Having said that, I'm grounded right now with whatever I've picked up. It's 30, windy and snow flurries, and I'm missing the pleasure of riding in it.

Anyone out there have problems with cold exposure and health?
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Old 01-02-12, 09:03 AM
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Do you really get sick or do you just feel all worn out the next day ?
I have the same question: Are you really sick, or just feel worn down?

As so many of the other posters have replied, exercising in cold weather doesn't make you sick, in the sense of bacterial or viral infection. As long as you aren't coming into contact with a sick person after exercising, you are not going to "catch a cold" more frequently due to exercise.

Make certain you stay hydrated while exercising. You may need to increase your calorie intake depending on how cold it gets. Of course, make certain to get enough sleep to help your body recover from the exertion.
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Old 01-02-12, 09:24 AM
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I used to feel like crap the day after really cold rides until I made three specific changes (for the most part I was already layering appropriately and keeping my hands and feet warm):
1. I've reduced my expectations of how fast and how far I'll ride. I was trying to ride the same mileage at the same speeds as I do in the summer....not a great idea.
2. I take insulated water bottles with warm energy drinks in them. It's amazing how much cold water can chill one to the core in freezing weather.
3. I do a better job of covering my face than I used to. (Face masks and balaclavas are now my friends).
These three changes made a very big difference in how I felt the next day. Oh, and I also got into the habit of having a cup of hot chocolate within a half hour of returning home from a ride....great for helping with recovery.
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Old 01-02-12, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
I'm wondering about everyone who rides in sub-40, sub-30, or even sub-0 temp: just how on earth do you stay healthy?

I have good cold weather gear and I understand the benefits of layering vs. the evils of cotton. I managed to get in a modest number of miles this December, a month I often don't put any mileage up.

It just seems that every time I ride in the cold, the odds of feeling like refried crap the next day is at least 50-50.

It's frustrating and disheartening. I'd like to try my hand at randonneuring, but the brevits seem to be front loaded, with the easier brevits occurring in January and February.

I'd love to get some meaningful mileage in this winter, but if I get sick every time I try it, I'll have to head to The Pit (spin class).

Does anyone out there have this issue, and have figured out how to beat it?

I mean this in the nicest possible way, but comments like "Here in Ft. Myers we never ride if it drops below 70" tend to come off as a bit d!ckish.

My wife and I are 70 years old. We try to ride right through winter. We stop if the temperature drops below 25 F. We don't bike in snow.

The question you must ask yourself is if you truly get sick or just depressed. Short winter days are depressing. The mind can play strange tricks on the body. It took us a few years to learn how to dress for winter rides where the change in temperature during the day can be as great as 30 degrees. Layering and proper selection of clothing. We do as NOS88 suggests. Warm drinks in insulated bottles. We don't go for a high average speed. Just getting out of the house and out of the city is the key driving force on the rides. Seeing pleasant scenery and wild critters makes the day.

I had extensive exposure to a bunch of chlorinated hydrocarbons in the chemical industry. That recently caught up with me in my ability to adjust to wide ranges in temperature. My daughter suggested taking Co Q-10 supplements. That worked wonders on my ability to deal with colder temperatures on the bike rides. Also did good things for my ability to keep up energy levels. I no longer feel like I have been run over by a truck the following day. This past Saturday and Sunday we were out on the bikes. Starting our rides with the temperature a little below freezing. High during the day around 50. Back to the car at dusk. We don't feel any worse for wear this morning and were it not for strong gusty winds we would be back out on the bikes today.

But by all means see if you have an actual physical health problem versus the usual winter doldrums. The last is not that difficult to overcome.
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Old 01-02-12, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
Thanks all.

According to The Literture, cold temps are not supposed to predispose you to colds and stuff. There is also preliminary info that exercise reduces cold risk.

Having said that, I'm grounded right now with whatever I've picked up. It's 30, windy and snow flurries, and I'm missing the pleasure of riding in it.

Anyone out there have problems with cold exposure and health?
I usually ride all winter. Generally try not to ride much below 0F.

Colder temperatures seem to make riding a lot more work, particularly if you are breathing heavily. So you might think about some of these:
1. Ride a little slower. If you are sucking in enormous amount of cold air, you may not feel too good. Try to experiment with the speed where you feel the best.
2. Don't ride as far. My feet tend to get pretty cold after an hour. So I try not to ride more than an hour.
3. You should pay careful attention to clothing. It's great to leave feeling a little cold, but it would be great if you could carry a little extra and put some on if you have misjudged how cold it is. Get a balaclava and some thinsulate gloves.
4. Keep at it.... at your own pace. I do notice that people who don't ride much in the winter seem to have lower cold tolerance. I seem them all bundled up on a 35F day. I do notice over the years I have been doing this that my tolerance for cold has improved a lot. Yours might too.
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Old 01-02-12, 11:08 AM
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There is a phenomenon of "cold-induced asthma." Perhaps??
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Old 01-02-12, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
If anything, cold weather outdoors is healthier - cold is tough on bacteria and viruses.

J.
+1 I used to run every day all winter long. During that time I always felt healthier and almost impervious to cold weather. My frequency of illness (colds and flu) seemed to be very low when I was running. Back problems have relegated me to biking and I commute to the train station all winter long no matter what the temp (have ridden in -25F). I only feel run down if I go long periods without that ride. Dress warm and cover the head and neck, and then defy and defeat nature's attempt to stop you. (back issues seem to have been fixed and I plan to start running again)
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Old 01-02-12, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Banded Krait View Post
I have the same question: Are you really sick, or just feel worn down?
Insightful question. The answer is: both.

I have some bug or another right now, and I was up half the night coughing and with sweats. Sounded like I was ready for the Waverly Hills sanatorium.

I feel better now.

December is one of my busiest months, and to be honest I've been working too hard. I have this week off and I'll still manage to go into the office daily.

I'm hoping to use cycling to pull me out of the doldrums. I have a new bent and I'm already expecting to be near peak form although I have less than 300 miles on it. Doesn't make much sense, does it?

The idea of limiting the rides to 15 miles or so makes sense, although, as I like to ride from my doorstep, it limits my travel options a bit.
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Old 01-02-12, 12:32 PM
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I was gonna ask; How far do you ride? Most of my riding in the cold is after work and supper, in the dark. I try to do 10-15 miles per night, 3-4 nights per week. I'll do a little more during the daytime on weekends but not a tremendous amount if the weather is not good. I'll only do 20-30 miles if it's very cold and/or windy. Sometimes only 10.
Every now and then I get in a metric on flat ground but I sure can feel it afterwards. My short rides are almost always on very hilly roads so I feel that I get a decent workout.
I feel good after my rides. Often, at night, I want to keep on going but it gets late and I have to get ready for work the next day. I love night riding in the cold.
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Old 01-02-12, 01:17 PM
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Be careful to avoid dehydration. It easy to drink less fluids when your rideing in cold weather. Your body is still burning calories when you ride in cold weather and still need replinishing. You might be slightly dehydrated after a ride in cold weather, hence the worn out achie feeling...
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Old 01-02-12, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
'up half the night coughing'

Use some Vick's Vapor rub under your nose... suck that agent deep into your lungs.. you'll stop couching quickly. I'm predisposed to chest colds.. and that remedy is the best I have found.
Make sure to layer yourself with real clothes in cold air... the head especially. I also have to cover my mouth with a wrap.. to help preheat inbound air. Yet I believe this technique beneficial to many more riders tending to colds and other type of winter bugs.
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Old 01-02-12, 03:07 PM
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Cold air is denser, denser air creates more drag. If you are trying to ride at the same speed you did when the air was less dense, you are taxing your body to a higher degree.
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Old 01-02-12, 03:08 PM
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Riding in Cold Weather

Someone responded with "Face masks and balaclavas are my friends now" and this is so true. I have a full balaclava that has opening for my eyes, a piece crosses over my nose, and small opening for my mouth. I buy those paper dust masks and wear it over the openings for very cold days, now the air around my nose and mouth is warm instead of breathing in straight cold air, making the ride much more enjoyable. For days that are not as cold but I want to cover my ears up I buy those paint socks that cover your face, they cost less than three dollars.
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Old 01-03-12, 06:42 AM
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Cold weather and icky health

Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
I'm wondering about everyone who rides in sub-40, sub-30, or even sub-0 temp: just how on earth do you stay healthy?...

It just seems that every time I ride in the cold, the odds of feeling like refried crap the next day is at least 50-50

Does anyone out there have this issue, and have figured out how to beat it?...
I enjoy the challenge of cold weather riding and a main motivation is that I become more tolerant of winter in general (的n your face, Old Man Winter.). I do suffer two maladies though specific to winter and one is current.

It seems the only time I get sick enough to be kept off the bike, though not always, is when the temperature drastically changes downward. On Monday, yesterday, it was about 40 degrees at my usual riding time; today is 26; and tomorrow is predicted at 9. On Monday, I started to have the usual symptoms of hoarseness, followed by a (slightly) sore throat, malaise and joint aches; so I didn稚 ride today. I知 hoping to ride tomorrow, especially since I bought some new gear intended for temperatures below 20 degrees on my 14 mile commute.

My second cold weather affliction is that after a particularly cold ride, I become markedly and irresistibly sleepy within about one hour after arrival to a warm place. This is remedied by a brief microsleep if I can slip it in, but if I am actively busy with certain critcal duties I can overcome it.

A year-round cycling acquaintance in Boston on BF complains of a specific headache after a cold weather ride, and he posted about it:

Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
Riding in the cold always gives me headaches. Even with vents taped shut, helmet cover, and balaclava. Why is this?
I think he still gets them if anyone has any further suggesions.

Finally, there is one other specifically cold-related 電iscomfort that I have not seen mentioned on BF, but I have considered considered posting about. I think it is real, and I was gratified to read about in another winter-cycling website, and it influences my winter commute. It is called appropriately 田old-induced diuresis.
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Old 01-03-12, 07:54 AM
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Jim,
The cold air following a front's passage is usually very dry, around 5%-35% relative humidity, and dry out the nasal, throat and mouth membranes. The face coverings, like the balaclava, could help you with those symptoms as your body fights the dryness with coughing, dry throat drainage and nasal drainage to try and hydrate the membranes. The joint aches can be from the air pressure change to the high pressure after a front passes. The sleepiness is found in cases of hypothermia. probably a matter of using your cold weather gear.

Best of luck, thankfully Florida doesn't have a many cold days, (not being a smart ass Dudelsack!) I still need layers to ride no matter.

Bill
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Old 01-03-12, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post

It seems the only time I get sick enough to be kept off the bike, though not always, is when the temperature drastically changes downward. On Monday, yesterday, it was about 40 degrees at my usual riding time; today is 26; and tomorrow is predicted at 9. On Monday, I started to have the usual symptoms of hoarseness, followed by a (slightly) sore throat, malaise and joint aches; so I didn’t ride today. I’m hoping to ride tomorrow, especially since I bought some new gear intended for temperatures below 20 degrees on my 14 mile commute.

My second cold weather affliction is that after a particularly cold ride, I become markedly and irresistibly sleepy within about one hour after arrival to a warm place. This is remedied by a brief microsleep if I can slip it in, but if I am actively busy with certain critcal duties I can overcome it.
That's what I'm talking about. With sudden temp drops I feel like I'm very vulnerable to getting sick.
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Old 01-03-12, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post

Best of luck, thankfully Florida doesn't have a many cold days, (not being a smart ass Dudelsack!) I still need layers to ride no matter.

Bill
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