Exercise Tied to Reduced Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

Near-daily aerobic exercisers have 43 percent fewer URTI days than sedentary people

TUESDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Aerobic exercise five days a week may be the key to reducing fall and winter upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), according to research published online Nov. 1 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

David C. Nieman, of Appalachian State University in Kannapolis, N.C., and colleagues conducted a study of 1,002 adults who were followed for 12 weeks during the winter and fall seasons and monitored for URTI symptoms and severity. The purpose of the study was to examine the association of self-reported fitness levels and weekly exercise with URTI symptoms.

The researchers found that the number of days with URTI was 46 percent lower in the highest self-rated fitness tertile versus the lowest. Those in the highest tertile of aerobic exercise per week (five or more days/week) had 43 percent fewer URTI days than those in the lowest aerobic exercise tertile (less than or equal to one day/week). There was also a 32 to 41 percent reduction in URTI severity and symptoms between high and low physical fitness and exercise tertiles.

"Among the various demographic and lifestyle factors evaluated in this study of 1,002 men and women, perceived fitness and exercise frequency ranked second only to older age in the magnitude of reduction of days with URTI during the winter and fall seasons," the authors write.

Quercegen Pharmaceuticals and Coca-Cola provided grants for the research.

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