Friday, December 31, 2010

Regular Exercise Battles the Bulge and the Common Cold

Winter is approaching and cold season along with it. That means its time to pull out the big guns and work on cold prevention. While you can stock up on echinacea, zinc, and vitamin C, lather up frequently with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and do your best to avoid contact with cold sufferers, there is a simple daily activity that can benefit your body and ward of seasonal colds: exercise

The Human Performance Laboratory at the Appalachian State University, North Carolina Research Campus, recently conducted a study that found that people who exercise regularly seem to have fewer and milder colds.  "The physically active always brag that they're sick less than sedentary people. Indeed, this boast of active people that they are sick less often is really true," said lead researcher David C. Nieman, director of the Human Performance Laboratory.

Researchers at the laboratory studied data on 1,002 individuals, aged 18-85, tracking upper respiratory infections and recording lifestyle, exercise, dietary patterns and stressful events. Those individuals how exercised five or more days per week not only had 46% less colds, but had a 41% lower incidence of cold symptoms. These active participants also experienced 34% fewer days of cold symptoms. Score one for the sit-ups!

While cold prevalence varies based on locale and age, the average American will contract four colds per year. In addition to regular exercise, it is recommended that you get plenty of sleep, allow fresh air into your home, and try yoga or mediation to reduce stress. It can be helpful to have daily doses of echinacea, zinc, and vitamin C, drink plenty of fluids, and eat protein-rich foods.

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