Protect Against Colds with Exercise
Expert offers on advice on when to get moving, when to stay in bed
weather turns colder, the noses turn runnier – but incidence of
colds can be greatly reduced by making exercise a part of daily life,
according to an expert from the American College of Sports Medicine.
Nieman, DrPH, FACSM, says that multiple studies have shown a 25- to
50-percent decrease in sick time for active people completing at least
45 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (such as walking) most days
of the week.
reduction in illness far exceeds anything a drug or pill can offer,"
Nieman said. "All is takes is a pair of walking shoes to help prevent
becoming one of the thousands predicted to suffer from the common cold
However, if you’re already sick and aren’t sure whether to hit the gym or the couch, Nieman offers these tips:
DO exercise if your cold is confined to your head, such as illnesses with runny noses and sore throats.
overdo it. If you have a cold, keep exercise to a moderate-intensity
level (i.e., walking). Studies have not shown any negative effects of
moderate exercise for those suffering from common colds.
stay in bed if your illness is "systemic" – that is, beyond just
the sniffles of a regular cold. Respiratory infections, fever, swollen
glands and extreme aches and pains are all good reasons to rest up
instead of work out.
jump back in too soon. If you’re recovering from a more serious
bout of cold or flu, gradually ease back into training after at least
two weeks of rest.
advises exercising prior to receiving a flu shot. Moderate-intensity
exercise just before getting the shot has been shown to improve the
body’s response to the vaccine, boosting immunity.
advice aligns with the Exercise is Medicine™ program, a component
of which centers on including physical activity as a standard part of
health care, like any other vital sign.
For more information on the American College of Sports Medicine, visit www.acsm.org.