Physical fitness may support immune health

Individuals who are looking to boost their immune health this winter may simply need to increase their level of physical activity. New research published in the British Journal of Medicine indicates that individuals who are more physically fit get fewer colds.

A team of researchers from Appalachian State tracked the medical records of 1,000 adults up to age 85. They then asked the participants about how much aerobic exercise they got on a weekly basis. The findings showed that individuals who reported being physically fit had nearly 50 percent fewer days with cold or flu symptoms.

Additionally, the severity of symptoms were significantly lower among those who had a higher level of fitness.

Researchers said that physical exercise temporarily increases the amount of immune cells that circulate through the blood stream. When exercise is done frequently enough, it may have significant long-term effects on immune health.

The average American adult gets anywhere from two to four colds per year. The findings could help millions of people avoid illness and time away from work or school.