Don't get back on the saddle too soon! Alpecin Cycling explains when you can start training on the bike again when the flu or a cold has taken you down.
As soon as the temperatures drop towards five degrees, your nose runs, your throat scratches and hurts, your eyes become thick and watery. It’s cold time! If you caught one too, then stay on the sofa and away from the bike saddle – that should go without saying. But when the cold is about to subside, the question will arise: when is the best time to start training again? “There is no patent recipe for this,” says Dr. Oliver Koch, a specialist in anesthesia and emergency medicine. “The sports break depends on how long the cold or flu lasts and how severe its symptoms are,” says the physician, who was himself a member of Team Alpecin in 2015.
As a rough rule of thumb: You should be free of typical accompanying symptoms of flu or cold for two to three days – i.e. no limb pain, fatigue or fever. A fever is defined as a body temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or more. Anyone who feels ill should go to bed and not climb on the road bike! By the way: If you take a break for one day longer, this does not significantly worsen your fitness, but can protect you from getting a setback. Such a setback will force you to take an even longer break.
No sports if you got a fever!
However, if you are really ill – with high fever (may also be absent as a symptom, or only light), cough, cold (possibly with yellow, purulent sputum), as well as head and limb pain – then you should go see a trusted doctor and have him examine you. A look into the throat, checking the lymph nodes and listening to the sounds within lungs and heart can provide a lot of information about your state of health. If necessary, the doctor will take a blood sample to measure the inflammatory values in the body and determine whether it is a viral or bacterial infection. If you rested during such a severe infection, you can start with easy training again after three to four days without any symptoms.
“In the first ten days to two weeks, listen particularly well to your body and do not plan intensive or long sessions, but enough regeneration time between the sessions,” advises Koch. A good reference is the resting pulse in the morning. If you document it over a longer period of time, you can detect deviations at an early stage that allow for conclusions to be drawn about the current state of the body. If the resting pulse in the morning is higher than usual, this can be an indication for a beginning or not yet properly cured infection.
If you start training too early again, you’ll risk heart muscle inflammation.
Those, however, who are unreasonable, do not rest and continue to train despite the symptoms, risk no less than their lives! The reason: A flu not recognized in time or not sufficiently cured as well as a bacterial infection can become a serious danger for the heart. Viruses, bacteria and other pathogens can cause an infection of the heart muscle and may lead to inflammation (myocarditis). “Discovered too late and without absolute physical rest, this can be fatal,” warns Koch. If discovered in time, this still means no training for three to six months. That’s why it’s better to prevent such a condition from occurring and not to train if there’s the slightest doubt. No long planned and supposedly significant race is more important than your own health and life. Watch your heart!