Your Immune System: Exercises That Help & Hurt It

A woman holding a man's feet as he tries to do sit upsThe average adult has two to three respiratory infections each year. That number jumps to six or seven for young children. Whether or not you get sick with a cold after being exposed to a virus depends on many factors that affect your immune system. Old age, cigarette smoking, mental stress, poor nutrition and lack of sleep have all been associated with impaired immune function and increased risk of infection.

Can regular exercise help keep your immune system in good shape? Researchers are just now supplying some answers to this new and exciting question.

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Fitness enthusiasts have frequently reported that they experience less sickness than their sedentary peers. For example, a survey conducted during the ’80s revealed that 61 percent of 700 recreational runners reported fewer colds since they began running, while only 4 percent felt they had experienced more.