Lower Your Risk of Seasonal Colds By Working Out!

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By J. E. Hinners, MD MPH

Fearing the upcoming cold season?

Well, if you incorporate regular exercise into your life, you should fear not. Or at least fear less.

A study in Sweden examined 1509 men and women between the ages of 20-60 years old over a period of 4 months to evaluate associations between physical activity levels and self-reported risks of contracting an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). Stress levels were also evaluated using a 14-item subjective stress scale.

 Subjects who practiced high levels of physical activity experienced 18% less risk of URTI’s compared to those practicing low levels of physical activity. This finding was particularly true for people experiencing high levels of stress (and especially among men).

Similar findings were also discovered in a previous study of 547 subjects, where the effect was again found to be strongest in men and also during the fall season.

A third study with 1002 adults reported that those subjects doing aerobic exercise for at least 5 days a week reduced the severity of their upper respiratory infections by 32-41% compared to sedentary subjects exercising no more than 1 day per week. Exercisers also reduced the number of days of sickness by 43% compared to non-exercisers.



  1. Reduces your risk of contracting an upper respiratory infection
  2. Reduces the severity of your sickness
  3. Reduces the number of days of sickness

Just one more good reason to keep up your workouts–to stave off the common cold this fall and winter!

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