Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sick Ride


Why is this picture a sick ride? I was sick. I was riding. QED.

When you commute by bicycle, and you're only slightly ill, you ride anyway. Slight fever, stuffy nose, OK really stuffy nose like my whole head feeling like it could explode with mucus at any moment, slight cough. I don't catch a cold very often, but on the rare occasions that I do, and I go into work anyway, I wonder if riding in has any effect on the course of the illness.

I know it doesn't feel particularly comfortable in the breathing area. I'm not saying it was hard to breathe, that would be foolish to continue riding, just that the change in breathing mechanics makes it uncomfortable. But, anyway, I haven't seen any studies that found that you get sicker if you continue your nice medium speed commute rides, and other than the slight discomfort from altered breathing mechanics, the ride overall still makes me feel better. Sunshine. Fresh air. Motion. Outdoors. A sick ride.

The ride did make me want to ask what-if this question: if you had a cold, and your nose was 100% stuffed up and swollen shut, and you sneezed really hard anyway, could your head actually explode? I've known people who've cracked ribs while sneezing, so, could it? Sometimes it feels like that.

Dude, that's a sick ride. Thanks. Do you ride sick? Or is it a bad idea?

9 comments:

  1. I always figured that if I was too sick to ride to work, I was too sick to go to work.

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    1. What if you choose to tough it out then wonder if the right thing was to not tough it out halfway there?

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    2. That's pretty much my rule.

      I can't remember when I took a sick day for myself. (I can take them to take care of a family member.)

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    3. Part of my thinking, too, comes from hospital experiences of my own and others where they push you to get out of bed and walk around very aggressively, because it seems that movement and exertion is better all around for positive outcomes than laying still, particularly in the operation of the lungs and I would assume also in end-to-end digestion which is gravity and muscle assisted. This just blurs it more for me, though, when a doctor tells me that moving around may be better for me than staying still, even if I really don't feel like doing it.

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  2. I will often ride if I have a cold for the same reasons you said. I just feel so much better. I think the endorphins and other hormones produced by exercise help to clear your head, both physically and mentally. "Ride on!" I say.

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    1. It's a true "motivation follows action" situation. The improvement in subjective sense of overall wellbeing provided by riding a bicycle is a consistent and repeatable experience for me, though, too.

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  3. I have had debates about this topic, with both others and myself. A buddy said that a ride always made him feel better. I have had mixed result though. Sometimes I feel better, or at least not worse. Less frequently the ride seems to make things worse. So, I have always assumed some undefined threshold exists and it ends up a guessing game to determine which side I am on. Thankfully, knock on wood, sick days are few and far between.

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    1. I've heard one general guideline which makes sense to me here, too, which is if it hurts (above a tolerable threshold I assume) stop doing it. This allots to commonsense and wisdom the proper share of responsibility, I think. The body knows what it needs. Still, it also needs to be reminded once in a while of the positive effects of riding a bike.

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  4. Take a sick day And go for a light ride for healthful rejuvenation...

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