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Do you ride when you are sick?

Old 12-28-16, 06:27 PM
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wgscott
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Do you ride when you are sick?

I got a nice dose of Xmas lung cookies. (Kid who gave it to me is on antibiotics. Perhaps I am next.) Anyway, it got quite warm here, almost 70F in some places, and was a beautiful day, so I decided it was worse wasting the day than biking and hacking. Despite coughing every 45 seconds last night, giving me about 2 hours of sleep evenly spaced over eight hours, and feeling kind of crappy, I decided to ride. Although I didn't push myself (I took it easy climbing hills, 25 miles in 2 hours, 3000 ft climbing), it didn't feel too much worse, and that is pretty much my normal speed on this ride. I have a bad feeling I might pay for it tonight, but on the other hand, maybe it will help to clear stuff out.

So do most people just HTFU and soldier on through, or do they take a break? It was still far better than an hour on the trainer (which is all I can manage).
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Old 12-28-16, 06:32 PM
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The old school rule of thumb was that if it's In your head, an easy ride is beneficial. If it's in your chest, stay home and rest. Definitely stay home if you have a fever.
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Old 12-28-16, 06:36 PM
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I am just getting over bronchitis (it's been a few days). I saw a doctor last week. I decided a little fresh air might do my lungs some good. But I only rode a couple miles.
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Old 12-28-16, 06:52 PM
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I typically cut back but generally don't cut out riding and my other workouts (at various times in my life swimming, running, triathlon, strength training, boxing) except during the very worst of it. I haven't been on a real bike in 2 weeks because I had carpal tunnel surgery 2 weeks ago and decided not to risk a fall on icy roads. But, a few days after the surgery I came down with a nasty cold, which I still have. I kept up most of my regular workout schedule, which is a boot camp class three mornings a week, 2 - 3 swim workouts, and 2 strength training sessions a week with a PT. I skipped one PT workout and one boot camp class a couple of days into the cold when I had a fever, chills and body aches that NSAIDs couldn't knock down to tolerable. Otherwise, just took it a little slower, made sure to not overdo it and modified exercises as needed - and I generally feel better after a workout than before.
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Old 12-28-16, 07:24 PM
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bad idea. If you have a stomach virus, your body shunts fluid to you abdomen and away from your brain.
You take the rest of it for your legs and you can pass out.

Last edited by bulldog1935; 12-28-16 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 12-28-16, 07:34 PM
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Flu (influenza) is a viral upper-respiratory infection, typically accompanied by a high fever.

I have (most likely) a simple cold, or possibly the beginnings of a bacterial respiratory infection.
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Old 12-28-16, 08:07 PM
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I rarely let being ill confine me at home or off the bike. All my life, I've taken a different approach to being ill, and fight it by treating my body so badly that the germs hold a meeting and decide to move en masse to a more congenial host.

That's a bit of hyperbole, but the underlying truth holds. I don't baby myself, and tend to get very sick and feel miserable, but only for a short time. I also suspect, though don't offer it as medical advice, that the increased breathing and heart rates raise the oxygen levels in my bloodstream, and help my body fight illness.

Not offered as science, just as something that's always worked for me.
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Old 12-28-16, 08:54 PM
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I look forward to riding when I'm sick, which is rare that I get a cold.

But a few weeks ago I woke up with a sore throat and stuffy nose. Next day I went riding, 45 miles and though my nose ran like a leaky faucet on the ride, I felt great later that evening. Had hint of a sore throat in my voice for a couple days after but that was it. I always feel it does me good to ride.
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Old 12-28-16, 09:21 PM
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I ride if it's just a sinus infection or some other form of general malaise. I'm staying home & watching HBO if it's something that involves elevated body temperature.
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Old 12-28-16, 09:59 PM
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Proper sick? Like, fever, infection? Nope, not a good idea. Even if the exercise helped or at least wasn't harmful, it's risky when our balance and attention may be compromised. Safer to take a walk or some other exercise to clear the lungs.

But just not feeling well, blah, achy? Heck, I wake up achy every day for the past 15 years since my back and neck were busted up in a car wreck. Yup, I'll ride, if only a very leisurely 8-10 mph for up to 10 miles. Often makes me feel better. Sometimes that 10 miles turns into 20 or 50.
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Old 12-28-16, 11:00 PM
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I generally ride if at all able. Sometimes it seems to help.
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Old 12-28-16, 11:03 PM
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middle of a bike tour of western Ireland, i caugh a comon cold, so i just coped.
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Old 12-28-16, 11:46 PM
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I rode 80 miles today with a cold. I'm a decent cyclist for my age but no rock star. It was a mostly flat ride with about 5 miles of gentle climbing. I felt better at the end of the ride than when I started.

I think I agree with the advice to back off if it gets into your lungs.
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Old 12-29-16, 12:11 AM
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I feel like I have whooping cough now.
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Old 12-29-16, 12:14 AM
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If I can walk steadily, I can ride. Sure, when I'm sick, I hack up a lot of crap -- but better out than in.

A week or more ago, with zero temps and windchill, I was hacking like a smokers' club, could have filled a soda can in 2 miles. But like I said........

Riding is just part of being functional on a daily basis.
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Old 12-29-16, 12:23 AM
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I still ride. I very rarely get sick. If I do, its just stuffy nose/head/sore throat stuff. I feel better while riding, getting the air and all, and back to stuffed up once I'm off the bike.
Anything more than that though, I don't believe I would ride.
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Old 12-29-16, 04:34 AM
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Something else to throw out there - if I am going to ride when I'm sick, injured, or when other factors look questionable (weather, family situation or work situation pending, etc) - I abandon the concept of a 40-50 mile each-way trek across the region and invoke my 3 mile rule - ride a big circle around home base with a radius of 3 miles. To be accurate, it's more of an irregular rectangle due to topography and the way streets were laid out.

The ultimate safe riding choice if I need it is to ride to the commercial strip in the center of town, about a 5 minute ride from home, and then do HIIT training or even just a slow recovery ride in the parking lot (at night, stores closed, no traffic).

These strategies mean I'm never more than 15 minutes at most from home. It may be a little boring going over the same familiar ground again and again, but also safe in that sense if the situation goes downhill.

Last edited by DaveQ24; 12-29-16 at 04:42 AM.
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Old 12-29-16, 04:53 AM
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I used to ignore a cold or even a flu until one time I went x-c skiing before my cold or flu was over; then I got really really sick. Now if I'm sick I stay warm and rest until I'm better.

I know someone who was a dedicated runner who went for a long run when she was sick. Unfortunately she had a virus that eventually damaged her heart muscle. Something like a myocardial infection.

Nothing is going to happen if you miss a few days of riding. The roads and bike will still be there. However, something bad can happen if you ride when you're sick.
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Old 12-29-16, 05:16 AM
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I have a trailer for my IV drips and O2 tank, so I never stop riding. My O2 supply limits me to 2oo miles per day!
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Old 12-29-16, 05:35 AM
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Last December 12th just 2 days after prostate cancer surgery I bicycled to our LBS with a Foley catheter inserted and the bag strapped to my leg to see the group off on their Saturday morning ride. A little cold ain't gonna stop me but if I'm hacking up some ugly loogies or my temperature is up there, I'm a stayin home.
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Old 12-29-16, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
I feel like I have whooping cough now.
Going on a month for me.

I was on Advair. Didn't even put a dent in it.


-Tim-
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Old 12-29-16, 08:13 AM
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I don't know if I made it worse, but it is worse.
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Old 12-29-16, 08:15 AM
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I know one thing, aerobic health improves my allergies. I haven't had a sinus infection in many years.
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Old 12-29-16, 09:14 AM
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Let yourself be sick and get it over with. You'll probably prolong your illness and your conditioning will backslide even further if you overdo it. If your symptoms are severe or last more than a week, see a doctor.

- Stay away from other people when possible and take measures to avoid spreading your illness
- Get lots of rest/sleep
- Stay well hydrated
- Learn techniques to help clear your lungs such as deep breathing, controlled deep coughing, postural drainage or even percussing (if you have someone else who can learn to do it to you, great) Learn from a reliable souce, there are a lot of YouTube videos and such that show poor technique.
- Steamy showers or inhaling warm mist/steam will help loosen secretions
- OTC medications such as mucalytics and expectorants can help but make sure you use them properly. Don't use antihistamines or decongestants when you have lung gunk unless your doctor tells you to (they thicken secretions). Use cough suppressants judiciously, you may need them to help you get rest but remember that coughing is your body's way of getting rid of the gunk so the idea is to control it, not eliminate it.
- Try to maintain good nutrition. You might not be able to eat as much as normal, so make the best choices that you can tolerate. Believe it or not, Ripley, hot chicken soup actually helps for several reasons. It provides fluids, the warm steam helps loosen secretions and there are nutrients in chicken broth that have mild anti-inflammatory properties. Tea with honey and lemon can also be beneficial for many of the same reasons. The warm, moisture combined with the astringent and mild acid of the honey and lemon can help clear gunk from the upper airway. Small amounts of caffeine can help reduce aches and fatigue, but avoid large amounts of stimulants as they prevent good sleep/rest and can promote dehydration which will make secretions thicker. Various herbal teas are touted as aids to recovery from illness. I don't know if they work any better, but if you like them and they make you feel better, it's at least a good way to get some fluids down. Avoid mucus promoting foods like dairy. Some spices and peppers can have positive effects by thinning secretions (you know how your nose runs when you eat spicy foods) but don't overdo it. I personally like a dash or two of Franks Hot Sauce or Tabasco in a big cup of hot chicken broth when I've got chest and/or nasal congestion.
- Some nutritional supplements like Vitamin C, Zinc and L-Lysine have been claimed to help reduce the severity and duration of viral infections. Probably won't hurt, might help, just make sure to use your head and don't mega-dose.
- Don't take antibiotics for viral illnesses. They won't work. There are antivirals available but they are best reserved for use in severe infections or vulnerable individuals (elderly, immuno-compromised, pregnant, etc.)
- Getting well takes time, don't try to rush it.

Hope you feel better soon.

Last edited by GravelMN; 12-29-16 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 12-29-16, 09:21 AM
  #25  
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Back in October when it was getting cold outside and I had a cold, I stopped riding. Haven't been riding outdoors yet due to the cold weather, but I have been riding inside on my trainer since Christmas. I do have sore throat now and wouldn't want to be riding outside, but inside is fine.

I guess the bottom line to whether I ride sick or not is how good/terrible I feel. A sore throat is nothing, but if I were hacking up a lung or have a fever, I'm not even going to ride inside.
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