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Regular Cycling prevents or reduces illness/colds?(12 posts)

Regular Cycling prevents or reduces illness/colds?aliensporebomb
Oct 30, 2002 5:52 AM
I have ridden over 1000 miles this season so far, feeling
pretty strong. Throughout the spring and summer I didn't
get any colds or allergies and even into the fall I was
fine until yesterday.

Strangely, I don't feel as bad as I normally would. So, my
feeling is that the cycling might have boosted my immune
system somewhat.

At one point it was weird - colleagues in the cubes around
me were coughing and sneezing and I was just fine.

Today I just feel a little under the weather. I'm eating an
apple and will probably get some orange juice a bit later
but I figure if I get some good sleep this week (last week
was a nightmare at work) I'll probably be well on my way to
feeling like riding again soon.

Anyone else notice regular riding had a positive effect for
their health?
re: Regular Cycling prevents or reduces illness/colds?gregario
Oct 30, 2002 6:10 AM
From what I understand, any form of regular vigorous exercise, short of exhaustion, bolsters the immune system. I don't know if studies have been done, the information may be anecdotal, but I believe that is the case.
doubt itmr_spin
Oct 30, 2002 8:27 AM
I am not a doctor, although I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

The way you prevent colds is not to get infected with the virus that causes the cold. There are thousands of them. If the virus is chasing you down the street, riding a bike would give you an advantage, but otherwise, it's mostly luck and prevention. True, your immune system is probably stronger than your inactive cubicle mates, but that will only fend off the weakest of viruses, and usually only the ones already known by your body or some derivation. New viruses come over from Asia constantly for which you have no immunities.

The best way to prevent colds is to wash your hands a lot. If people think you are strange for doing so, tell them you have the lead in The Scottish play. Avoid touching your nose, eyes, or mouth without washing your hands first.
Big Picturegrzy
Oct 30, 2002 8:45 AM
Hey, I'm not a doctor either and I don't even play one on TV.

Sure avoiding contact and exposure to the things that cause illness is the best prevention. However, getting regular, vigorus excercise keeps all of the systems working in your body and flushing out all the crud that will
otherwise accumulate, drag you down and make you sick. From my own experience I look back to times when I
haven't been able to get regular excerise vs. when I have and there's a noticable difference. When I was younger I had an elusive medical condition that kept me malnurished and weak and I was always sick. Since then it's been straightened out I've got a pretty large surplus of sick time while many of my more lethargic co-workers are always taking sick days. I'm not exactly a Felix Unger when it comes to washing my hands either. I've also travelled all over the world thanks to business and my time in the military.

Of course this is all just one data point and one person's experience. The truth is you're better off if you have *everything* going for you - it's not a one or the other type of situation.
increase in road rash, saddle sores, razor nicks;-) (nm)Spunout
Oct 30, 2002 8:29 AM
I found this linkJL
Oct 30, 2002 8:36 AM

Maybe it will help answer your question.

Happy riding.

Other effect- pain threshold...SnowBlind
Oct 30, 2002 8:40 AM
Your pain threshold is likely higher.
Can't tell you how many times I hear my self say "Well, this sucks, but it's not as bad as " in response to a challenging physical/mental situtation.

Can't tell you about the getting sick part, I get sick once a year usually after Christmas (I suffer the Y2K rollover with a 103 temp and strep throat) and that's it.
re: Regular Cycling prevents or reduces illness/colds?legs
Oct 30, 2002 9:50 AM
its a fine line between stressing the body into fitness and taxing the immune system. in general, cyclists live on the edge of a weakened immune system. this is partially why rest should be considered an active part of training and it also suggests that periodization gives your immune system a chance to rebuild.
re: Regular Cycling prevents or reduces illness/colds?legs
Oct 30, 2002 9:53 AM
and in addition... light to moderate exercize should boost your immune system.
I think it doeslongfellow68
Oct 30, 2002 9:56 AM
(Knock on wood) But since i started riding in 97, I haven't got sick once, and I ride all year round.
Only thing I avoid is rain days when its 50 and below.
Watch, its kinda wet today, I'll catch a bug for running my mouth.
re: Regular Cycling prevents or reduces illness/colds?Fredrico
Oct 30, 2002 12:05 PM
I used to get the flu regularly every Fall, often leading to coughing and bronchitis. The link submitted above has a u-shaped curve, the middle of which shows that moderate exercise boosts the immune system, while no exercise or very intense and unrelenting evercise stresses it. That is consistent with my 18 years experience of regular cycling.

A wet cold ride home from a stressful day at work, in heavy traffic during a season full of flu and cold germs, might very well induce a nice upper respiratory infection. But pop a few zinc tablets, take lots of vitamin C, have some chicken noodle soup, go to bed early. The fever won't come, and the symptoms will go away in three or four days. That's been my experience, anyway.

I haven't taken any sick days off work for over 10 years. I think you build up this immune system over years of moderate riding, eating right, getting good rest, and dealing with the psychological stresses of everyday life, for which regular moderate exercise is therapeutic.

So yes, if cycling doesn't prevent illness and colds, it certainly reduces their frequency, intensity, and duration.
A workout a day keeps the doctor away.fbg111
Oct 30, 2002 6:40 PM
When I'm in shape in the winter (traditionally, via swimming), I never get sick. When I'm not in shape, I get a cold which turns into the flu at least once. It's a known medical fact that fitness bolsters your immune system.

My motto: A workout a day keeps the doctor away. Be it swimming, biking, lifting, etc.