Many of us are likely to get a cold during winter, but should we let this interrupt our training?
Regular exercise helps us stay healthy and reduces the chance of illness. However, it doesn’t make us immune from illnesses such as colds. Catching a cold when in the run up to race season can be extremely frustrating. Some colds only have a mild effect, but some can really take their toll. So, how do we know when it’s time to take a break from our exercise routine?
How to Know When to Stop Training
- If your symptoms are above the neck (runny or blocked nose, headache and sore throat) then you should be okay to carry on training. However, if you have any signs from the neck down, such as a chesty cough, pains or shivers, fever, then it’s time to take a break from cycling while you recover.
- Monitor your resting heart rate. If your heart is beating an extra 5-10 beats while resting, it’s probably best that you don’t train until you’ve recovered. If it is beating more than average, it’s your body’s way of fighting off infection.
- Only you will know how bad you feel. So, if you don’t feel well enough, don’t push yourself. It can be difficult to take time off cycling when you’re so passionate about it, but you may make yourself feel worse if you continue to train.
Getting Rid of Your Cold
- We’ve all heard the saying, ‘feed a cold, starve a fever’. It is still important that you are getting all the essential vitamins and nutrients. Just because you’re taking a short break to recover, it doesn’t mean that you will instantly put weight on. So, you don’t cut back on food to counteract the lack of exercise. Nutrition is even more important while you recover.
- When you go out, make sure you wear sensible, warm clothing.
- Get a good night’s sleep, at least 7-8 hours’ sleep per night.
When you feel your symptoms starting to subside, slowly start to get back into cycling and training.