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This winter the number of colds, flu and viruses have been at record levels. Most people in an average year catch two to three colds. For children this number is even higher. But wouldn’t you love to get just one cold every two years? Exercise is a big way to prevent colds and flu. Healthy eating, including good amounts of fruit and vegetables will help keep the immune system healthy, but exercise can also play a key role. Findings show that exercise not only prevents serious life threatening diseases (like heart disease and cancer) but also helps your immune system fight colds and flu. It could give you the immune system of someone half your age!
With regular exercise, both the amount of infection fighting cells and their aggressiveness can be greatly increased, from 50% to a whopping 300%. These “natural killer” cells are the first defence agains colds, and so the more you have, and the more effective they are, the less likely you will be to get a cold. Even moderate exercise (like biking, walking or moderate gym exercise every other day) will reduce the amount of colds that you catch.
In an American Journal of Medicine study, women who walked for half an hour a day for one year caught half the number of colds as those who did no exercise at all. The researchers linked exercise with the production of infection fighting white blood cells. In other studies on subjects aged 65, researchers found that the number of T cells (cells that are helpers to white blood cells in fighting infection) was as high as someone in their 30s. The benefits of fitness in general are deemed to increase with age; see our section on 50+ fitness.
A personal trainer in Windsor and Maidenhead from Diets Don’t Work can get you started on a fitness program that will not only progress you gradually from your starting point, but that will also help you stay fit and cold free for as long as possible.