Did you know that regular exercise can help fend off the common cold? As cold season approaches, there’s no better time to commit to an exercise program.
Research shows that even moderate exercise, performed a few times weekly, can boost the immune system and help reduce the number of colds from which you suffer. With an acute bout of exercise, the numbers and aggressiveness of certain immune cells in the body can increase 50% to 300%. Therefore, if you exercise regularly, you will enhance your body’s ability to fight off colds before they strike. Furthermore, one study showed that 65-year-olds who exercised regularly had T-Cell (a specific type of white blood cell) counts comparable to those of people in their 30’s.
So, what if you already have a cold? Conventional wisdom dictates that you should rest until you feel better, but because exercise boosts your immune function, it is actually okay to exercise with a mild cold. You may not want to bring your germs into the gym, but don’t be afraid to go out for a light walk or bike ride with a cold. You may actually feel better faster.
– Jason L. Exercise Physiologist at Dedham Health & Athletic Complex