Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev
Can It Prevent the Flu or a Cold?
Maybe. The best way to stay well is to keep your immune system strong. When you exercise, your white blood cells — the ones that fight infections — travel through your body faster and do their jobs better.
Regular exercise may be the ticket. And you don’t have to run a marathon, either. Moderate activity is all you need.
Some studies show that “moderate intensity” exercise may cut down the number of colds you get. That type of activity includes things like a 20- to 30-minute walk every day, going to the gym every other day, or biking with your kids a few times a week.
In one study in the American Journal of Medicine, women who walked for a half-hour every day for 1 year had half the number of colds as those who didn’t exercise. Researchers found that regular walking may lead to a higher number of white blood cells, which fight infections.
In another study, researchers found that in 65-year-olds who did regular exercise, the number of T-cells — a specific type of white blood cell — was as high as those of people in their 30s.