Regular exercise can ward off the common cold

People who exercise regularly are less likely to catch a cold, insists a new U.S report

As the evenings get colder the last thing we want to do is brave the outdoors, but a new U.S. report has found that regular exercise is the key to beating draining winter viruses.

The research, published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that people who are fit and active are far less likely to become ill than their less active counterparts.

Results also indicated that even if sporty types do succumb to colds, their symptoms are much milder and don’t last as long.  

Lead researcher Dr David Nieman and his team claim that bouts of exercise spark a temporary rise in immune system cells, which fight off infections like the common cold.

The report showed that people who were physically active on five or more days a week were ill for almost half the time of those who exercised on only one day of the week.

Furthermore, the severity of common cold symptoms fell by 41% in those who were the fittest and by 31% among those who were the most active.

Researchers from North Carolina in the U.S. studied 1,000 adults up to the age of 85 whose health was tracked for a 12-week period, during the autumn and winter of 2008.

Participants were asked how much aerobic exercise they did, as well as other aspects that can affect the immune system like lifestyle, diet and recent stressful events.

Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners said: ‘This is yet more evidence for doing exercise. It reflects what we have believed for some time.’


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