Ugh. I’ve got a cold!
I’ve got a cold! I can’t possibly exercise! You know that is a misnomer! It all depends on the type of cold you have contracted.
The average adult has two to three upper respiratory colds per year. Did you know that there are actually over 200 different cold viruses! After you have caught cold #66, you will probably have built up an immunity to #66 and will not get that one again. We are exposed to viruses all day long, but some people seem to be more susceptible to catching cold or the flu.
There seem to be some factors that have been associated with impaired immune function and increased risk of catching colds. Those include old age, smoking, stress, poor nutrition, lack of sleep and over-training.
Regular Exercise Boosts Immunity
There are some factors that seem to protect us from catching colds. Research is finding out that there is a strong correlation between consistent moderate exercise and a strong immune system. There seems to be a tie between exercise and the production of macrophages, cells that attack bacteria. With the increased circulation of blood from the elevated heart rate from exercise gets the macrophages through the body more quickly and are better able to kill bacteria and viruses. During the post- exercise period the immune system returns to normal within a few hours, but the changes due to the exercise seems to make changes more long-lasting.
It has been reported from research that when regular moderate exercise is preformed on most days of the week that there is cumulative long lasting effect upon the immune system. Those who exercised for at least 40 minutes per day had half as many sick days due to colds as those who didn’t exercise.
The Flip Side
Now I have some of you really focused upon either, Yes, I get to exercise and the others saying, I know – another reason for me to strap on my tennies and start exercise.
So the flip side of the above research is that too much intense exercise can also reduce the effectiveness of the immune system. More than 90 minutes of high-intensity endurance exercise can make athletes more susceptible to colds for up to 72 hours after exercise. There seems to be a correlation between intense exercise and a temporary decrease in immune function.