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Working Out the Bugs

Oct 26, 2009

Colds can strike at any time. Wintertime, late spring, early fall. It doesn't matter. These nasty bugs can disrupt your schedule and linger for weeks at a time, making it difficult if not impossible, to stick to an exercise program. And then there's the question of whether you should be exercising at all, or if you should just ride out the worst of it and resume your workouts once the cold has passed.
New research may help make that decision a bit easier. Scientists at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., gave 50 healthy students ages 19 to 29 an upper-respiratory virus. Sixteen students were instructed to remain as sedentary as possible while the remaining 34 exercised moderately for 40 minutes per day. Both groups were told not to take any cold medications.
After 10 days, researchers found no differences in the duration or severity of symptoms between the two groups. While the exercise didn't speed up recovery, it didn't slow it down either. Previous studies have found that regular, moderate exercise is effective for reducing one's risk of catching a cold. With these new findings, it appears the best medicine may be to continue exercising moderately while the cold runs its course.
Source: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, November 1998

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