Brian's Blog

…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World

Exercise and Illness

So I began last week with a bit of a cold, the worst part being the sore throat I had to endure for at least 24 hours – I really despise those things, they make me feel rough right through. Lucky for me it was a quiet work week, although when I did get called out to one client, for which I was still perfectly capable of cycling to see, I still managed to overtake a car on my way down the hill (the roadworks at the bottom being what thwarted me).

When illness strikes it makes me appreciate more how my regular cycling keeps me fit and healthy. I actually feel unwell, both physically and mentally, if I don’t get out of the house for a few days. Cycling all year round, in all weathers, seems to do wonders for my immune system, and going out in cold or warm weather helps me to tolerate cooler and warmer indoor temperatures I’m sure – this is a healthier way to live than relying on heating or air-conditioning. Cycling throughout the year also helps me to combat the hayfever I get for 2-3 months – I’m sure my body gets used to the pollen, rather than me hiding away from it and then suffering more when I do have to go out.

During the week I had to help my brother with some work on his car – doing battle with nuts and bolt’s isn’t something I find particularly fun on the best of days, and with a constantly running nose I wasn’t a pretty sight – I was also concerned he’d end up with my cold. He started to get a cough part the way through, but lucky for him nothing more. I also had to then visit my mum and help move furniture – again I was concerned for anyone around me!

Usually when I have a sore throat I like to drink hot orange squash with a dollop of honey in… but I didn’t have any orange squash, only blackcurrant, and I didn’t fancy that with honey in. It just so happened that I had finished my last can of soup the day before the sore throat hit – in future I’ll keep a spare can in the cupboard for such emergencies! I find it interested how cravings change when illness hit – I can be used to drinking tea and coffee each day, but then go completely off one or the other when I have a cold. On this occasion I really didn’t feel like drinking tea, but I needed to keep my fluids up, and drinking plenty of water felt bad on my throat. I sometimes have honey in tea, so as a substitute I tried just honey in a mug of hot water, and was pleasantly surprised.

By the weekend things were turning round and I had a new found energy and enthusiasm – I began Saturday with a jog, then some cycling, and later some more cycling too. My July’s cycling efforts had been pretty relaxed so this day alone was quite a turn-around. I quite liked how the cold had first brought me down, then allowing me to enjoy the feeling of recovery – I may have been cursing whoever gave me the sore throat in the first place (I usually pick up one of these a year from my nieces, but on this occasion it wasn’t obvious who I’d got it from), but now I was enjoying the buzz.

I think being able to cycle my way through such an illness helps it to pass too – at the height of it if I stay indoors my nose doesn’t seem to stop running, but if I get outdoors and do some brisk exercise it’s like my nose gives up while my body focusses on the ordeal I choose to put it through. Being outside surely helps too.

Obviously some illnesses aren’t your simple cold, but for lots of things cycling and regular exercise is not only good for prevention but also helps with recovery.

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