Going out in the winter is always tough and if you are prone to catching all the bugs and viruses the kids bring home then it can feel a long winter, with little or sporadic riding.
The fatal mistake is to get on the bike when your not 100% but desperate to get out, or ignoring the signs of an impending virus. This can speed up the onset of a virus or set you back from a full recovery.
As anyone who is a keen sportsperson knows, exercise makes you feel good by releasing endorphins, the happy hormone, and these endorphins are essentially pain killers which is why you can feel good from your ride even if you are unwell. If you are not fully recovered you can be hit 24 hours afterwards when your body been too busy to fight off the bugs.
Obvious factors such as excessive alcohol the night before a ride can cause your immune system not to function efficiently as it primarily working to eliminate the alcohol from your system. This can make you feel a bit “drunk” as it grudges up all the toxins into your blood stream again.
Stress is another factor that causes us to fall ill, as under stress the body releases adrenaline to go into a flight or flight situation. This adrenaline pumps blood to the muscles and shuts down the other bodily systems to literally fight or run like hell, think caveman having a run-in with a big grizzly bear and you get the picture.
A little bit of stress is great, like the adrenaline rush before downhilling as it gives you strength and focus. The problem is that today’s stress can be more constant than this; so being under this state for longer is not physically ideal.
Exercise is a good stress buster so there’s your catch 22 if you’re unwell!
The lesser known aid for boosting your immune system is massage as by having a regular massage it allows any build up of toxins to be eliminated regularly, hence what the fashionable term “detox” is all about. This takes place through the lymphatic system of the body.
The lymphatic system is our “water” system that contains immune cells called lymphocytes, which protect the body against viruses and bacteria, so by regular detox of the body through massage you are cleaning the lymphatic system and ready to fight any bugs that you come into contact with.
Apart from being pleasant and easing any muscular tension, massage is an essential treatment for everyone that is best taken regularly to feel the full benefits, and lets face it, if you ride through the winter months you’ll be stronger and fitter once the first signs of spring appear.
Danielle has a massage clinic at Leatherhead Leisure Centre and Dorking Sports Centre and works alongside with Physio’s and personal trainers – just in case your feeling a bit competitive in 2011!