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Riding with a cold

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Riding with a cold

Old 12-17-11, 11:53 PM
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Riding with a cold

Hey guys! I have been sick for the past two days and it is getting in the way of my riding. I skipped today's ride but I really want to go tomorrow. Will riding make me feel really bad? Do any of you ride when you have a cold? How do you feel while riding?

I don't really have anything serious, just a little nose congestion no fever or chest congestion.

The ride I plan to go on is going to be a challenge for me:70 miles with about 10,000 ft climbing, but I can cut it short to 50 miles and 7000 ft climbing, I will not be riding hard, just looking to finish the ride.

The high temp tomorrow is going to be 62, I will be wearing pear izumi sun sleeves and will take along a wind jacket.

So if you had a cold and you had all these conditions, would you go? Or would you stay at home and rest?

Thanks!
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Old 12-18-11, 12:57 AM
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Some people say they ride it out and it helps every time, some people say they only don't ride if they have a fever. I only get worse if I ride while I'm sick -- fever or not. Pushing yourself on a challenging ride while sick sounds like a great way to make sure you get worse.
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Old 12-18-11, 01:49 AM
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It will clear your head and make you feel better but just don't overdo it and make yourself weak as the body needs energy to fight off the bugs.
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Old 12-18-11, 02:09 AM
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I've ridden with a cold before, but it took the enjoyment out of it (which is part of my reasons for riding).

One rule of thumb that runners follow is that it's OK to exercise with a head cold, but not with a chest cold...but, as mentioned above, don't overdo it...you can wear yourself down and make yourself sicker (more sick?) and then you'll have to lay off that much longer. Listen to your body, or ignore it to your own peril, as the ex used to say..
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Old 12-18-11, 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by fishymamba
I don't really have anything serious, just a little nose congestion no fever or chest congestion.

The ride I plan to go on is going to be a challenge for me:70 miles with about 10,000 ft climbing, but I can cut it short to 50 miles and 7000 ft climbing, I will not be riding hard, just looking to finish the ride.
I rode Tuesday and Wednesday this week with what I thought was a mild cold, then it took a turn for the worse Wednesday night and took me out of action for the next two days.

I would not recommend doing anything more than a moderate, two-hour ride if you've still got symptoms.
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Old 12-18-11, 06:15 AM
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When you are sick, your body is figthing with germs to make you better. It gets tired.

Moderate physical excercise can sometimes help stimulate you, but don't overdoo it. The worse you are, the more you should lie in bed. Pay attention on food, lots of liquid etc.

Several hours after an exhausting excercise your body is most succeptible to get sick, since your immune system is not really going.
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Old 12-18-11, 07:40 AM
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riding with intensity or for extended periods depresses your immune system. it's ok to ride with a cold as long as you keep it a recovery ride (zone2) and moderate the time you are on your bike. when you get home, clean up straight away, and stay away from strangers and malls for a few hours until your immune system recovers.
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Old 12-18-11, 07:42 AM
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I'm not a medical guy in any way, so this is "just me". For cold/flu type of illness I have two rules of thumb (well, right and left)

1. Body depends solely on immune system for viral infections with no real vaccine or cure (e.g. cold & flu). So the best I can do is supporting my own immune system - which is a warm rest indoors.

2. Profuse sweating works magics on me for those kind of infections. I usually get over a really hard flu in a day or two of hot bed rest, akin to Finnish bath. I mean real sweating like swimming in your own sweat. Then, I'm up and well again just in a day or so - as opposed to crawling around more than a week. However, it becomes tricky with all that sweat and you need to be very careful not get "cold over cold". In such times, if I've absolutely got to get out of bed, I go like a walking tent.

So, I'd suggest skip the excercise and stay warm, indoors. I'm curious about what medical pros would say on this, though. I'm almost sure that they would agree on (1) but to this day I've never heard a doc advising (2). Is this really "just me"?
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Old 12-18-11, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by bisiklet
I'm not a medical guy in any way, so this is "just me". For cold/flu type of illness I have two rules of thumb (well, right and left)

1. Body depends solely on immune system for viral infections with no real vaccine or cure (e.g. cold & flu). So the best I can do is supporting my own immune system - which is a warm rest indoors.

2. Profuse sweating works magics on me for those kind of infections. I usually get over a really hard flu in a day or two of hot bed rest, akin to Finnish bath. I mean real sweating like swimming in your own sweat. Then, I'm up and well again just in a day or so - as opposed to crawling around more than a week. However, it becomes tricky with all that sweat and you need to be very careful not get "cold over cold". In such times, if I've absolutely got to get out of bed, I go like a walking tent.

So, I'd suggest skip the excercise and stay warm, indoors. I'm curious about what medical pros would say on this, though. I'm almost sure that they would agree on (1) but to this day I've never heard a doc advising (2). Is this really "just me"?
It isn't just you. I've used the same technique many times. It makes sense. After all, a fever is your body raising its core temperature in order to burn up the cold virus. Reasonable exercise or wrapping yourself up in blankets is a way of artificially producing the same effect; it raises your core temperature. As a side benefit, exercise also produces a natural antihistamine that helps clear your sinuses, at least temporarily. As previously mentioned, if you choose to exercise or ride, keep it reasonable. If you let your body get fatigued, which is easier to do at such times, or let your body get cold afterward, you run the risk of letting the virus take a stronger hold. I'm not a doctor. I'm just regurgitating information I have found in a variety of medical articles over the years.
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Old 12-18-11, 08:29 AM
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Every time I have tried riding with a cold it has just made me feel worse.

Take it easy until you feel better.
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Old 12-18-11, 08:55 AM
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If it's just minor nose congestion, I'd say go for it, but take it easy. If you have any other symptoms like fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, headache, cough, or wheezing, then I'd say get a big bowl of chicken soup and a blanket. Remember that most cold medicines don't cure anything, they just mask symptoms. The exception may be, controversially, zinc based preperations that have some evidence showing that they actually mess with the replication of the cold virus and thus may shorten the duration of infection. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are considering medication that you aren't familiar with.
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Old 12-18-11, 09:32 AM
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Hmmm, I'll ride with a minor cold and in much colder conditions than 62 degrees. Like the others suggest, I would keep in to a moderate ride so as not to stress the body. With a minor cold exercise actually seems to make me feel better.
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Old 12-18-11, 09:50 AM
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Sometimes I feel better if I get out and ride.

If you don't feel up to par, then getting some riding in will help keep you from going downhill, fitness-wise, even if you don't do your normal workout.
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Old 12-18-11, 12:04 PM
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I think you should actually ask a doctor, not a lot of cyclists who have no medical training (or no one says they have).

I understand that if the cold virus reaches the heart, you will be very ill and may die. I recall a medical student once telling me that.

I have no medical training, and don't know if this is correct, but I would not be doing the hard ride that you are proposing, just in case I am right.
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Old 12-18-11, 12:32 PM
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Ive been riding over the last three months and Ive had 3 colds. Dont know if its the same one that has never gone away or what. Its driving me nuts. Nothing strenuous just 10-15 miles a day 4-5 days a week. I have no fever or chest congestion. Its been cold in the AM when I ride (by SD standards) 36-45 degrees. Thinking about taking a few days off and see if that helps. Ive been sick more in the last 3 months than I have in the last 3 years. The only thing Im doing different is eating better and riding this year over the past. Go figure... So I guess its up to your own system if its the best thing for you. Theoretically I should be healthier this year but its not working out that way.
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Old 12-18-11, 01:33 PM
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As long as I have no fever, I still ride. I've got a regular group ride a few days per week. The ride never slows down for the guy with the cold.
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Old 12-18-11, 01:47 PM
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Don't be an idiot. Stay home and get well. Trying to ride even 50 miles with a cold (especially this time of year) is a sure way to make it worse. If you had the choice of missing only a few days of riding vs. more than a week, which would you choose?
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Old 12-18-11, 02:15 PM
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I have been sick for a week. wanted to ride everyday but my legs back and neck were all sore and achy. I am a fair weather rider and I hate riding in the cold even with the appriopriate gear. I ride mainly on my rollers now, which I was doing everyday. got sick and even though mentally I wanted to, physically it was hard enough to get off the couch. I say ride if you can OR want to. if you feel like you need sleep or your body hurts, then listen to your body.
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Old 12-18-11, 02:40 PM
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I woke up this morning, and I still wasn't feeling too well. Decided to go on a smaller ride: 35 miles 3k ft climbing. Felt good throughout the ride, and I enjoyed it!

I did start feeling tired and got a slight head ache by the end of the ride(last mile or two). Thanks god I didn't go on the long ride.

Thanks for all the responses everyone!
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Old 12-18-11, 03:55 PM
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If I don't have a fever, I ride. Once I get going, I don't even notice that I have a cold. IMO, I feel better having ridden than not.
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Old 12-18-11, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by pdedes
riding with intensity or for extended periods depresses your immune system. it's ok to ride with a cold as long as you keep it a recovery ride (zone2) and moderate the time you are on your bike. when you get home, clean up straight away, and stay away from strangers and malls for a few hours until your immune system recovers.
I'm with pdedes on this. My fighting a cold ride has always been 20-25 miles, working up an easy sweat, staying in the small ring as long as possible, and only if the weather is nice. Followed by a shower and a nap. Your first job is to get rid of this thing so you can go hard next week.
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Old 12-18-11, 05:54 PM
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working out when ill is 100% counter productive. The great Eddy Merckx once said it is best to go to bed hungry so that the body can focus on healing....same can be said for being ill. Allow the body to heal, rest is usually your friend..
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Old 12-18-11, 07:58 PM
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I'm surprised at all the responses saying not to ride. I'd like to see a poll on this issue. Most people I know don't let being sick interfere with work or play.
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Old 12-19-11, 04:50 PM
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I did 100 miles on Saturday with a cold. I felt awful yesterday - but great today.
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Old 12-19-11, 06:11 PM
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i'm not reading all of this so i apologize if i'm repeating anything. but generally, i think the rule is that if it's above the neck (i.e. head cold), you're fine, but if it's more than that, you need to rest. and while it's ok to ride with a cold, you should take it easy and back off or stop if you feel worse.

i usually find that i feel better during/after exercise when i have a cold...YMMV.
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