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Cycling Therapy for COVID-19? You Might Be Surprised…


The first tightening in my chest, where I could tell something wasn’t quite right, scared the hell out of me.  I texted my boss that I shouldn’t come to work and he agreed, offering that I could work from home.  My cycling buddy’s son, then wife had been sick and we’d been fist-bumping after rides like it was going out of style.  That was supposed to be acceptable…  The dry cough started Thursday morning, though it never approached “uncontrollable”.  Mildly annoying is a better description.  I went out for a bike ride with Chuck that afternoon anyway.  No way I was going to let this get in the way – it wasn’t all that bad and I was going to will myself into being asymptomatic.  It was a slow ride as chuck was starting to feel a bit under the weather himself.  Chuck and I tooled around our normal loop at just under 16-mph… about 3-mph slower than normal (Tuesday had been 18.85-mph on the same route).

Friday had me pretty nervous.  One can will oneself not to be sick, and sometimes it works, but I wasn’t kidding myself either.  I was waiting for the hammer to fall.  The weather wasn’t all that great, either.  A cold front had blown in so I chose to ride my trainer indoors around lunchtime.  The hammer never dropped.  The cough subsided Friday afternoon and the tightness in my chest was entirely gone by Saturday morning.  For Saturday, it was really cold, so another ride on the trainer.  Again, easy so as not to flare anything up, but not too easy.

Sunday, the weather improved and Chuck and I were back outside.  I was feeling fine, he was still battling his mild fever.  On that ride, Chuck said he’d spoken with his sister, a nurse, who recommended “deep breathing exercises”.  Well what better deep breathing exercise is there than riding a bike?  We were out for 2 hours, covering a little more than 35 miles.  Over the next five days I covered 184 slow(ish) miles and I’m feeling fantastic.

Then this:

Recommendations

Aerobic exercise. Before infection aerobic exercise is recommended to strengthen cardiovascular health. Once infected, during the period of mild symptoms, moderate daily aerobic exercise can improve lung ventilation. Such exercise may benefit immune function as well [10]. Ideally, do this exercise outdoors or with open windows or otherwise well ventilated areas. In sufficiently warm climates, longer walks or even running may improve lung capacity. Jumping jacks, jogging in place, or dancing can be done even in small spaces.

Is the advice legit?  I don’t know, but I’ve heard it from enough people I trust that I trust it.  And it definitely helped me.  Who knew?

On another note, and purely turning the frown upside down, it’s unmistakable what this virus has done for getting people outside in my neck of the USA.  Folks, I see more walkers than I do cars while I’m out on those bike rides nowadays… and the number of those who are smiling while we wave as I go by is simply fantastic.


6 Comments

  1. The Omil says:

    I know what you mean – every little cough feels like the start of the virus. Very pleased yours wasn’t. All the best to you and your family.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Now that it’s passed, that is, in the past, I’d bet you lunch it was. I was one of the low-grade people who barely know they’ve had it. Unless we know of another bug going around that causes a dry cough and respiratory issues…. and can be passed from one person to another. If there is, then I probably had that. 😉

  2. Sheree says:

    Glad it wasn’t more serious! Take care.

  3. biking2work says:

    I don’t know if that advice is legit I’ve seen it too but not convinced…yet. Glad that you are OK. If it was the C-word, you are lucky but do keep an eye on your family. Stay safe man

    • bgddyjim says:

      Absolutely, brother. They’re still saying most who get it are mild or asymptomatic… I wouldn’t be surprised a bit if we were among those. Two avid cyclists and my kids are avid swimmers? Stayin’ safe, baby!

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