It's official, winter is here.
Now with it comes the office parties, late nights, lack of sleep, pressured deadlines, family situations, stress, over indulgence in food, drink, break ups, change of jobs, plus a sudden change in weather. With all this thrown into the mix, its no surprise that we geat a weakened immune system, and with that comes a whole line up of illnesses ready to take advantage and have their wicked way with you.
But I don't need to tell you this right?
As a Coach I often get asked, "Can I train with a cold?" or "Should I even be training?" So I thought I'd break it down for you. But first,
What is a cold?
The common cold is simply an inflammation of the upper respiratory tract (your throat, nose, nasal passages, sinuses, pharynx, larynx). It is caused by a virus, of which there are apparently over 200 types which cause the common cold.
How do you catch a cold and how do you treat it?
Colds in adults are generally transferred from person to person by being inhaled by the air passage (nose and mouth). They can also be transferred though direct contact with wet nasal discharge (nasty right?). So if you want to stop the spread of a cold, you should smother discharges; coughs, sneezes and nose-blows. If you see someone spreading their wet discharge all over the place (especially in enclosed spaces) consider it an act of biological warfare and STEP AWAY from the danger zone
(and/or offer them a tissue and politely ask them to cover up).
Can you train with a common cold?
Yes. Yes you can. But research has shown there are some things that you want to keep in mind. "What are they Cj?" I hear you ask. Ok, here they are,
To summarise, bed rest may not be the answer. If your symptoms are from the neck up, then you are good to go, but back off your training intensity until it's resolved. Light to moderate exercise has been shown to have a postivie short term effect on the immune system. Leave your ego at the door.
If you have a fever, body aches and pains, then you'll want to knock your training on the head, take some bed rest if you need to. I would suggest keep movement going when you can. Keep it light. Listen to what your body needs.
You will want to bolster your immune system. This means making sure your nutrition is on point, and loaded with with antioxidants especially vitamin C. Reduce as many stressors as you can, and make sure you are getting enough sleep to regenerate. Antibiotics will not help you, as they kill bacteria (good and bad ones) whereas cold is viral. Plus drink plenty of water and you are setting yourself on the road to recovery.
Did you know that if you take over the counter medicine, often they only reduce symptoms but don't kill the cold as such. It takes your body 3 - 4 days to being to produce antibodies to kick that colds arse. So remember that you can still train on a common cold, as long as it's in the upper respiratory tract and you reduce intensity.
I love boxing.
I've been involved in the sport since I was fourteen years of age (at the time of writing this I am thirty six). So what have I learned from boxing? A lot.
But today I want to share with you one important lesson, that I never fully appreciated until recently. We all have that inner conversation that can stop us from doing what we want to do, if we let it.
We procrastinate. We justify. We freeze. We tell ourselves that "I'm not ready." We tell ourselves that when I have that thing, or when this happens, then I'll be ready.
But it doesn't work like that.
I remember vividly being in the ring, those 2 or 3 minute rounds can seem like an eternity. A lot can happen in that short space of time.
You can get injured, your game plan may fall apart, your opponent may become weaker, or start getting frustrated. The referee may neutralise your ability to be effective in the fight.
Inbetween those rounds you get one minutes rest.
Just 60 seconds.
In those short 60 seconds, your injuries have to be addressed. You have to recover as best you can physically. You have to take in the information and evaluation of your coach, who is telling you how to adjust your game plan. While all this is going on, that internal chatter is in full swing.
Time is ticking.
You could still be punch drunk, still bleeding, only got half of the game plan your coach was telling you. That internal dialogue may be on full blast, but when that bell rings you get up off that stool and you fight.
Whether you think you are ready or not. You do the best you can, with what you have, right then and there. Sometimes it works out for you. Sometimes it doesn't. That's life. But if you think about it, in boxing and in life, you are often ready, whether you believe you are, or not.