Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tell That Cold to Take a Hike

news you may not know

...Doctor's Orders

Are you one-in-a-billion? If so, good for you – most Americans fall in the two to four in-a-billion range. Colds per year, that is. Americans suffer an estimated one billion colds each year and each person, on average, catches the common cold between two and four times annually. However, a simple walk around the block may be all it takes to move the odds in your favor.

Researchers studied the impact of moderate exercise on a group of older women. The study followed the women for a period of one year, during which they exercised moderately five days per week. The most popular exercise was brisk walking, whether at the gym or at home. Walking has been shown to raise levels of leukocytes, white blood cells, which are the primary component of the immune system.

The results of the exercise group (the Walkers) were compared to the results of a control group of women (the Stretchers), whose only exercise consisted of a single 45-minute stretching session each week. The competition was fierce and, for the first several months, was nip and tuck. In the end, however, the Walkers outpaced the Stretchers for the gold.

The Walkers experienced a moderate decrease in colds over the course of the study and the Stretchers moderately more. But, during the last three months of the study the gap widened considerably. Walkers were three times less likely to catch a cold during this period than the Stretchers. Researchers believe the beneficial effects of exercise are cumulative and, as in so many areas of life, persistence will pay off.

So, the next time you feel the sniffles coming on, grab your shoes and head out the door. A brisk walk around the park will do both your health and your spirit good.

To read more, see this Reuter’s report: Want to prevent colds? Start exercising.


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