My mental health bike ride

I announced here recently that I am sick of being sick. It’s a good thing that I don’t get sick that often. The last time I had something like this was March 2013 and I had to take nearly a month off working out.

What’s wrong? Just a persistent nasty cough that seems to settle in and hang around after I’ve a cold. It happens once in awhile. It’s not pneumonia so that’s good but I’ve been coughing so much my abs are sore and I’m nervous about breaking a rib.

Persistent cough is one of those annoying things. I went to a medical ethics conference in Austria a couple of years ago and was fascinated to learn that coughs are responsible for approximately 30 million clinician visits annually in the United States. Cough is one of the most common symptoms for which people see the doctor and in some practices half of all visits by adults are for cough.

Worse yet, there’s not much they can do. Cough medicines don’t do much.

So there is a question of whether we should discourage adults from heading to their doctor when they have a bad cough given the cost to their health care system and the worry that they can’t do much besides rule out serious causes.

Oh, and women get bad coughs more often than men. We have more sensitive  cough reflexes apparently. Thanks.

So I’ve been couch bound for awhile now. I’m drinking lots of tea. I’ve nearly finished a very long novel.

Yes, I went to a conference in Iceland and did some driving around the countryside. But I was lucky to have my friend and fellow Feminist Philosophy Quarterly co-editor Carla Fehr to do all the driving. She even had to bring me food to the room at the end of the day a couple of times as this cough gets worse at night. Thanks Carla for taking care of sick me!

Post Iceland my feet have been pretty itchy, wanting to move. When the sun came out on Sunday and the day just got warmer and warmer, I really wanted to ride my bike. I knew I couldn’t go far and I certainly couldn’t go fast but I thought it would be good for my mental health, for my mood, to get out for a ride.

I know some people would counsel against this. But I pledged to go slow. Sarah and I noodled along the multi-use pathway riding around geese, lots of people walking, children learning to roller skate and ride bikes. We waved at people, made bell noises (ring ring!) because we don’t have bells on our road bikes, and we slowed right down and smiled lots. We did our part to improve the reputation of road cyclists on the multi-use pathway.

We even stopped to look at the baby owls nesting in a local park.

After of course we stopped for cruffins and coffee at the Black Walnut and sat outside in the sun.

The bike ride was definitely the right choice. The slow 23 km didn’t do much to improve my fitness, I’m sure, but it did improve my mood considerably. I love you spring!

8 thoughts on “My mental health bike ride

  1. Have you tried seeing a Chinese medicine practitioner? My cough cleared up within a week after getting some acupuncture & foul tasting herbs, after it had hung around for more than a month

  2. Glad you got out. The change of breathing patterns may have done as much good for your cough as the change of scenery was for your mental health. I find that when I am unwell (especially cough/cold/congested sinuses), nothing clears it so well as a trip to the swimming pool. Something about the enforced breathing at a steady pace clears me up every time.

  3. Fighting a cold for the past two weeks now and down to mostly just a cough at night. I played too much this past weekend (skiing in powder and trees with friends who are better than me while blowing my nose a lot) and it seems to be worse now. Ugh. Need to force myself to get some rest. It’s hard in the spring.

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