I haven’t ridden my bike for 5 days, there is an indentation of my slumped body in the sofa and I can’t bear to watch another Lord of the Rings – yes, man flu strikes. Having man flu Mon-Fri is bad because it interrupts mid-week training (oh, work too), but that it continues into the week end to disrupt my chance of long rides has left me half the man I was. If I get angry after 3 days without a ride, try to picture me now, poor Louise and anybody else that needs to come into contact with me until I can get back onto a bike.
If you read my earlier blog Whoops I cycled too much I spoke about some of the tell-tale signs of getting ill. Little did I know the horrible reality that waited for me around the corner; here are some of the symptoms of man flu:
Achs.ing and cramp Louise woke abruptly on Tuesday night as I screamed with a painful butt. For the past 3 days my legs have felt like they do after a 200Km ride and my exercise has consisted of going to the toilet. This is one way the body reacts to the virus.
Tired. I have never ever slept so much. 12 hours each night followed by a siesta and early evening nap. This is more sleep than my newborn nephew and niece are currently getting. As the body’s immune system fights the virus it saps your energy.
Dry throat. People confuse a cold with man flu, especially women (come on, allow me one sexist dig!). Actually flu is completely different but may include (but not necessarily) cold symptoms like a blocked nose, sneezing and coughing. I’ve just got a really dry throat.
Bad mood. This is the most important symptom of man flu. Man’s inability to do anything about the suffering results in a severe bad mood and not being able to perform trivial tasks, thus requiring his loyal partner to look after him.
How do I know I have man flu I hear you say? I had a blood test at our amazing all in one gym, (here comes the plug) CENIT centre in Girona and Marti, the awesome coach/doctor diagnosed a virus. It’s important to distinguish the difference between this and a bacterial infection. Antibiotics work on bacterial infections but generally not on viruses. If the virus can be distinguished it is possible to prescribe anti-viral remedies. For the flu there is no remedy for the root cause. There are a load of ways that have been scientifically proven to speed up recovery though:
Drink loads of water. Being well hydrated and supporting the liver to flush out the nasties is the number one piece of advice for dealing with the flu. As an aside, apparently it’s normal for the body to retain liquid when you are ill so needing the toilet a lot is one sign of a recovery.
Heat. There are studies showing that heat can speed up recovery and also reduce the chances of getting ill in the first place. A sauna is perfect for this and really un-clogs the system. If you don’t have a sauna at home you can put some albas oil in a big pan and a towel over your head, my favourite.
Lemon, ginger honey and echinacea tea. I am all for the natural remedies and hot water mixed with these ingredients is amazing to boost the defence system and speed recovery. The honey is also great to sooth a dry throat.
Vitamin C. Whether you eat oranges, broccoli or use the artificial tabs, Vitamin C is key to recover quickly. Having said this don’t go crazy because our bodies have an upper limit which if you pass will result in the rest being flushed out.
Eat really well. You probably already do, but if you don’t now is the time to eat loads of veg, preferably in soups which are easy to digest.
Finally and most importantly, rest and sleep loads. Give in to the man flu. I have found that when I finally accept that I cannot work or cycle and just relax, the recovery process properly begins.
If you have man flu this winter, you are not alone and we feel your pain. Try a few of the tips above out and hopefully you will be back on the bike in no time. As for me, I am hoping (PLEEEASE) that day is tomorrow.