Exercise helps prevent common cold

By Sheryl Kay • Published: March 4th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

The symptoms are all too familiar — the runny nose, the watery eyes, the raw, scratchy throat. It’s the common cold, the one illness we all get… and the one for which there is no cure.

Over the centuries, every remedy imaginable has been tried, from herbal mixtures to potent antihistamines and decongestants. Now, in a study just published in the British Medical Journal, researchers have found the best treatment might include an hour at the gym.

During the twelve-week study, more than one thousand adults were asked to record the number of times they exercised, and the frequency with which they felt ill. Researchers found  that those who reported exercising less than once a week were sick with a cold for an average of about nine days. Those who exercised five days a week or more, though, reportedly felt ill only five days for the same time period. Those who exercised more often also graded their cold symptoms as milder than those who did not regularly work out.

The researchers conceded that given the parameters of the study other influences may have affected whether there was a direct connection between exercise and the development of cold symptoms. For example, because younger people tend to exercise more than their older counterparts, perhaps certain individuals were less susceptible to catching the common cold simply because of to their youth… not because of the amount of time they spent exercising. Investigators tried to adjust for these and other factors that might have skewed the results, such as weight and diet, but the findings remained unchanged.

So when it comes to good health, there’s yet another reason why a regular workout may be nothing to sneeze at.