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Tag Archive: sick

Back in the saddle

Once again – still… – I’ve been dealing with illness — and resulting time off the bike (and off of work). Not too long ago, I posted about being too sick to bike. Then – with a sudden burst of energy and need to be active – I did return to my bike for a mere few days before landing myself in bed for another week of being sick.

I’m happy to report that so far this week I’ve been riding again, but I’ve decided to “go lite” and have changed my cargo set-up. I’m just carrying my seasoned (err – old) trunk bag instead of a pannier that’s just too easy to fill up with stuff and weigh me down. Several years ago, I also stopped using backpacks due to neck and shoulder pain.
trunk bag

My pannier set-up – (photo taken last fall with my waterproof pannier)
pannier set-up

My pannier set-up from just before I got sick –
market pannier

Unfortunately it’s also limited my side-trips on the way home to grab groceries, since I’ve left no room for extras. At this time, I think that’s just as well.. since the last time I reported that I was back on my bike I did end up sick again. No need to overdo it.

Traveling lighter has been a refreshing way to go. I’m considering it a “spring cleaning” of sorts. No extra baggage.

What’s your preferred method of carrying your stuff while biking?

TGIB on TGIF

After being sick for over a week, I woke up this morning itching and antsy for a return to my bike. Despite the rainy forecast and my lingering sinus “issues”, I pumped up Toro’s tires, lubed the chain and set out this morning – happy to be actively engaged in my commute again.

As I rode along, I realized it’s Friday and thought “TGI – BIKED!” Yes, Thank Goodness I’m Biking…. only one week off of my bike and I was already desperately missing my 2-wheel ride.

After finishing my workday yesterday feeling miserable, I decided that today’s determination to stay home sick or go in to work would be solely determined by my ability to ride. And I simply just wanted to ride!

So… Happy Friday! Have a safe bike commute home.

Too Sick To Bike?

For the past week I’ve been battling (yet again) my sinuses. And because of it I’ve been off my bike (and even sequestered away at home a few days too).

It’s a weird feeling to not be biking, but I honestly haven’t had it in me.

The thought of breathing in the cold damp air has me running for shelter. My sinus passages are just that sensitive at the moment. And my teeth/gums feel sensitive too. Not a good combo to be breathing in the great outdoor midwest winter air. All of specialists who tend to my healthcare (general practitioner, dentist, eye doctor) all know about my bike commuting lifestyle and never have discouraged my riding. In fact, they do what they can so that I can keep riding.

In the past I’ve biked through sickness (having no limits to my biking parameters) but this time I’m listening to my body – which is screaming “mercy” – and resting… Resting from being always on the go, resting from being out on the bike. Surprisingly, I think I’ve been too sick to miss it much, but now that I’m going back to work for a full day, I think I will.

What has sidelined you from your bike and how have you dealt with the time away from your bike?

Mr. Bicycle, I am Calling in Sick Today

I have been fighting some crud for the past few days, but until today I have been able to ride. This morning, I woke up with a stuffy head and sore throat, and I just felt that the benefits of biking just would not outweigh the drawbacks, and so I caved in and drove. I usually feel pretty pathetic when I drive, and I think the guilt (albeit self-imposed) is a healthy way to not allow myself to settle for driving as regularly. In addition to mentally feeling pathetic, my body feels more sluggish on the days that I drive. I’m not as awake when I get to work, and I am generally more tired throughout the day due to the lack of early morning pedaling. The fresh air and exercise are also great “stress-busters” – and yes I know this will not be news to any reader of this website.

There are basic principals of health/anatomy/immunology that govern how the body responds to physical stress when fighting illness. The Mayo clinic online covered this topic and gave the general statement that if your symptoms are above the neck – stuffy nose, sore throat – then it is safe to proceed with exercise. If symptoms are below the neck – congested chest, hacking cough or fever – it is wise to refrain from exercise. At this point, the health-boosting effects of exercise will cease to apply.

Some of us (myself included at times) think that we can “sweat out” a sickness by engaging in intense exercise when fighting a cold. While this may help relieve simple symptoms like stuffiness, in the end you are most likely going to hurt your body’s ability to fight the sickness. “Your immune system fights best when it isn’t stressed,” says MedicineNet.

Your immune system fights most effectively when it isn’t stressed. Research studies show that a moderate fitness program helps boost the immune system, lessening the chances you’ll fall ill with a cold or flu. But scientists also note that a single rigorous exercise session or race can actually make you more susceptible to bacterial or viral infection.

So listen to your body when you feel sick and need to rest — a hard workout could impair your immune system for several hours, allowing unwelcome guests to make your illness worse.

And make sure you give your body enough time to recover before you return to exercise after a serious illness like the flu. Come back too soon and you may actually send yourself into a relapse of the illness, which further slows your return to everyday activities.

I will say that bike commuting has seemed to help my body prevent illness these past months. I have historically gotten sick twice a year for as long as I can remember: in the fall and then again as winter gets close to spring. This is the first time that I have felt sick in over a year, and it has certainly been less intense than experiences past.

So as I go heat up some chicken noodle soup and down a gallon of water, at what point do you, the reader, say “enough is enough?”