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Regular Exercise May Reduce Risk of Common Cold

Among postmenopausal women, exercisers get significantly fewer colds than non-exercisers

MONDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- In postmenopausal women, a year of regular, moderate-intensity exercise training may reduce the risk of colds, according to study findings published in the November issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

Cornelia M. Ulrich, Ph.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash., and colleagues randomly assigned 115 overweight and obese, sedentary, postmenopausal women to either five days per week of 45 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or a once-weekly 45-minute stretching session.

The researchers found that more stretchers than exercisers had at least one cold during the 12-month study period (48.4 percent versus 30.2 percent). During the final three months of the study, they also found that stretchers had a more than threefold higher risk of colds than exercisers.

"The present report is notable for its large population size, random assignment design, quarterly assessment of upper respiratory infection incidence, and year-long exercise-training protocol," state the authors of an accompanying editorial. "Adherence among the exercise trainers was excellent. The results also are provocative and will be widely cited as additional evidence for the benefits of exercise. Nevertheless…a definitive conclusion that regular exercise reduces the frequency of the common cold must await confirmatory reports."

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