Sweat. Curing the Common Cold?
Stay active to stay well
You gotta love cold and flu season. Every doorknob, every co-worker's sneeze, every plane-ride. You never know where or when you'll encounter the next contaminated culprit. But you know it's out there. The germy encounter is coming.
It begs the question-is it possible to prevent the common cold this year? Possibly, if you're willing to ramp up your workout. A new study reveals that maintaining your wellness throughout winter might be as simple as beading a sweat, and working your workout.
A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that working out at least twenty minutes, five or more days a week divides in half the number of seasonal colds. That's encouraging, considering the typical adult contracts 2-4 colds a year (multiply that by two for kids!)
Have you heard about a cold vaccine in the near future? Neither have we. So, cold prevention has consisted of lots of hand sanitizer and careful company. The study author, David Nieman, Dr.P.H., of Appalachian State University, agrees that cold prevention options are quite limited. On the other hand, he finds, "Exercise is really a powerful weapon. There is no supplement, drug, or lifestyle intervention that has this same power to fight off colds."
Nieman notes that, to date, cold research and animal studies have suggested that exercise can have a positive effect on the immune system. Nieman and his colleagues furthered tested this idea in a study of 1002 people ranging in age from 18 to 85.
Participants penned a questionnaire on various immunity factors, such as diet and stressful. They answered questions about their perceived fitness and how frequently they exercised moderately for at least 20 minutes. Throughout the cold season, participants daily penned reports to indicate the severity of cold symptoms.
The results? Exercise was found to be the best lifestyle factor affecting if and how severe a participant contracted a cold. The most active-sweating 5 or more days a week-experienced 43 to 46 percent fewer days with cold symptoms. The highly active also experienced less severe symptoms when they did get a cold.
The study ultimately found that frequent exercise enlists an army of immune system cells to combat bacteria and viruses for several hours afterwards-a mechanism that could explain why consistent exercisers get sick less often.
The perfectly timed bottom line of this study is this-stay active to stay well.