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Daily exercise helps keep the sniffles away
November 1st, 2010
07:01 PM ET

Daily exercise helps keep the sniffles away

Regular exercise can improve your mood, help you lose weight, and add years to your life. Still need another reason to hit the gym? A new study suggests that working out regularly helps ward off colds and flu.

In the study, researchers followed a group of about 1,000 adults of all ages for 12 weeks during the winter and fall of 2008. During that time, people who logged at least 20 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise—such as jogging, biking, or swimming—on five or more days per week were sick with cold or flu symptoms for just five days, on average, compared with about 8.5 days among people who exercised one day per week or less.

Health.com: 9 ways to stay sniffle-free

What's more, regular exercisers tended to have milder symptoms when they were ill. Compared with the people who barely exercised, those who worked out frequently rated their symptoms about 40percent less severe overall, according to the study, which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. (Symptom severity was gauged with a standard questionnaire.)

Exercise is thought to boost the circulation of the virus-fighting white blood cells known as natural killer cells—the "Marine Corps and Army of the immune system," says the lead author of the study, David Nieman, a professor of health, leisure, and exercise science at Appalachian State University, in Boone, North Carolina. "Exercise gets these cells out…to deal with the enemy."

The increased immune activity brought on by exercise only lasts for about three hours, but the cumulative effect seems to keep disciplined exercisers healthier than most. "As the days add up, it adds up to improved protection [from] the viruses that can make you sick," Nieman says.

Health.com: Cold or flu? How to know if you’re too sick to work out

Endorphins may also play a role, says Len Horovitz, M.D., a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital, in New York City. These feel-good neurotransmitters—the source of the so-called runner's high—have "positive effects on the immune system, so it's not surprising there's a spike in immune cells," says Horovitz, who was not involved in the study.

It's also possible that people who exercise frequently tend to lead healthy lifestyles in general, and are therefore less likely than couch potatoes to get sick.

Nieman and his colleagues measured a host of factors besides exercise that could potentially affect a person's susceptibility to cold or flu, including age, gender, diet, stress levels, marital status, smoking, and educational attainment. Of all of these, physical activity was most closely linked to the number of days a person spent sick, although some characteristics, such as being married and eating a lot of fruit, seemed to help protect against colds and flu as well.

Health.com: 30-day cold and flu prevention calendar

"You can't do much about your age, and you can't do much about your gender. Here's something you can really do," Nieman says. "Exercise is the most powerful weapon that an individual has in their hand to reduce illness days."

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Filed under: Cold and flu • Exercise

soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Bob

    This is the same guy who quit running marathons because marathons destroy your body. This article makes no sense. It has long been known that the immune system is suppressed immediately after exercise. It may be true that exercise in moderate amounts improves the immune system overall. However, it is likely that people that get sick a lot don't exercise as much. I think the lead author, Ms. Amanda Gardner, needs to do a little more research before posting something like this.

    November 1, 2010 at 19:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • eeyore

      The reporter is simply writing about what some studies show. If you can provide statistics and studies that would point to a different conclusion, why don't you post links to them?

      November 1, 2010 at 19:49 | Report abuse |
    • r

      Bob, you are so right. My dad ran in a huge number of marathons over the years and now his body is paying the price. Also, if you have allergies, you can't run from them.

      November 1, 2010 at 20:01 | Report abuse |
    • VANewsMan

      Running a marathon is very different from the moderate exercise described in the article. Marathons are much more taxing on the body and decrease the immune system, at least for a time. Multiple studies have shown that regular moderate exercise boosts the immune system.

      November 1, 2010 at 20:05 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      VANewsMan, my point exactly. Ms. Gardner says nothing about the fact that too much exercise makes you sick. If these journalists are not specific enough the uneducated public is mislead into thinking that more is better. It is not. Twenty to thirty miles per week of exercise (4 to 5 miles 4 to 5 times per week) is optimal. Also, as I said, exercise probably has some immune boosting effects but it does not show immediately after running. Running will make you stronger over time. But if someone has a weak immune system and runs too much chances are that person is going to get sick.

      November 1, 2010 at 20:57 | Report abuse |
    • Wyatt

      So your immune system is depressed for a certain amount of time immediately after exercising, and afterward is strengthened. Not to mention the fever you run while you exercise – which should knock out some of the pathogens.

      November 2, 2010 at 12:49 | Report abuse |
    • John

      Its NOT just about RUNNING...Its exercise in general. Eat right, exercise, and take care of your body. You will feel better and live longer. Its a no-brainer. It seems everyone is focusing on the "running" only because of the photo. By doing something...anything, your body will thank you for it. Put the phone down, turn off the tv and get out and do something. Have a physical/blood test prior to exercising and then another in 6 months. You will see and feel the results and want more. Work around any injuries you may have. Seek out inspiration to get you going. It will work, just trust your body. Cheers.

      November 3, 2010 at 15:18 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      A day late but wow, there ALWAYS has to be someone shouting "where are my statistics and studies blah blah this study is stupid good job CNN," youre SO tired. Its a friggen SUMMARY of the study! Youre whining they need to prove exercise is good for you?!?!?!

      November 3, 2010 at 15:22 | Report abuse |
    • Jane

      I could never run a marathon – http://www.suesueandsue.com – I'm following this blog and it's inspiring me to at least walk every day!

      November 5, 2010 at 09:35 | Report abuse |
  2. fuyuko

    I work at a school and I sick 3-5 a times a year. I also exercise 1.5 hrs a day. Nothing stops the sick when it happens. The only think that sucks about being sick, is I can't exercise since I like doing it.

    November 1, 2010 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Improve Concentration

      Nice – yeah if its a virus its gonna get you, i think it helps if you exercise all around anyways though

      November 2, 2010 at 23:38 | Report abuse |
  3. musicianman

    Been doing P90 (non-x) cardio all summer 3x's a week (avg) eating fruits, veggies & at least one salad a day (w/flaxseed). Last w/e after a gig on Sat & casual date Sunday, awoke Monday sniffled out. A bad cold hit me hard & lasted all week. Sucking down organic homemade chicken soup, every type of designer health tea & vitamin in the cupboard didn't help. I was congested & mildly coughing for Sat night's Halloween gig. I didn't feel myself talking to the french maids & Marie Antoinette's of the evening. Then there was performing... cough drops & a handkerchief helped, but didn't mask the fact that I was blindsided by something going around right now before a big party w/e. I agree w/fukuko – especially when one deals w/kids or frequents the local library – "nothing will stop the sick" – except maybe a pair of stylish pop artist gloves, hand sanitizer and sars-approved face-gear. Thx for letting me vent. Ohh Marie.

    November 1, 2010 at 20:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • musicianman

      Marathons – Dr. Weil talks about the ratio between living and (marathon prep) exercising in one of his books I've read. I agree w/his assessment (interjecting here) that the time invested in relation to your lifespan - your time on earth - the things you give attention to - the people that need you (family & society) is not served by you spending hours striving for a sub-super-human goal that inevitably makes poor water cooler conversation (mostly).

      November 1, 2010 at 23:24 | Report abuse |
    • Cole

      The article didn't say exercise prevents sickness, but that it can reduces the duration and symptoms.

      Actually getting sick in the first place depends on your hygiene and environment (Working at a school, which houses hundreds of people, catching a virus is inevitable).

      November 2, 2010 at 18:09 | Report abuse |
  4. Cotati

    From my perspective of 53 years having periods of working out and periods of not working out at all I would confirm what the study found. I experience virtually no illnesses when I am exercising regularly but have the normal bouts of flu and colds when not. Having worked a number of years in a busy ER I was exposed to every virus passing through our community but never missed a day of work. My personal belief is that regular exercise strengthens the body in every way. Not trying to be preachy, just sharing my experience about a 53 year longitudinal study with a sample size of one.

    November 1, 2010 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • musicianman

      hd – opened a can of worms with "normal bouts" of colds and flu. Normal, to most, would be "0" – zero.

      November 1, 2010 at 23:30 | Report abuse |
    • musicianman

      Devils advocate here – "virtually" – how soon we forget how sick we really were. Splitting hairs here: either you are felling sick/ill/don't go out-I'm tripping sick or – Gee, I feel awesome, gonna help that person on the corner, build a house & save the world – Martha Stewart eat your heart out feeling. For me, there's no in-between.

      November 1, 2010 at 23:40 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Strenuous exercise decreases salivary IgA for a few hours after exercise. IgA is the first line defense against pathogens. Thus, exercise acutely increases your risk of getting sick. As for working in ER you know that you have all the vaccines and you know that you have been exposed to a lot more than everyone else so you know that your immune system already has built up immunity to most of the stuff going around. Also, ER workers are stronger to begin with. You can not compare your situation to the average person.

      November 2, 2010 at 07:17 | Report abuse |
    • eeyore

      "people who logged at least 20 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise—such as jogging, biking, or swimming—on five or more days per week were sick with cold or flu symptoms for just five days, on average, compared with about 8.5 days among people who exercised one day per week or less." Bob, what part of the word "moderate" are you confused about? It doesn't SAY "strenuous".

      Some of you need to exercise your brain more than the rest of your body. Get a clue.

      November 2, 2010 at 16:15 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      Bob, it's nonsensical to argue that because someone working in a hospital has "had all the vaccines" he or she will get fewer colds than someone who works in another setting. There are no vaccines for the common cold and the only way to become immune to a cold virus is to have actually caught that particular virus already.

      You aren't very knowledgeable about medical science, are you? I doubt you're qualified to judge the relative worth of this article or the research it describes.

      November 2, 2010 at 21:28 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Here's the deal: You can not take your experience and say that it worked for me and therefore it will work for everyone else. Also, ER workers have stronger immune systems than the average person. They have to or else they could not work there. As far as being exposed to everything leading to fewer illnesses, this is a statistics problem and if you did the math you would realize that ER workers will have fewer sick days because they have a greater probability of getting exposed to all viruses at once, simple due to the fact that they run into more sick people. As far as the vaccines go, you make a good point, a slip of the tongue on my part. Every other point I make is valid. This article is factually incorrect and is misleading.

      November 3, 2010 at 12:12 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Bob:
      Whats it like knowing almost nothing about health, but still having the confidence to call random comments "facts?"

      November 3, 2010 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Joe, you are the one that does not know the facts. I would suggest that you go to school to get an M.S. in Exercise Physiology as I have. And please, don't skimp on the statistics courses. These are all math problems and if you understood the math you might get it.

      November 4, 2010 at 19:48 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Besides, my comment about vaccines is valid in this context because the person commenting did mention the flu, not just colds. ER workers get flu vaccines. They don't get flu as often because they have the shots.

      November 4, 2010 at 19:50 | Report abuse |
  5. Tanya

    It's strange that the author hasn't mentioned brisk walking as the most accessible aerobic exercise.

    November 1, 2010 at 22:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Improve Concentration

      Thanks – for mentioning

      November 2, 2010 at 23:39 | Report abuse |
  6. Luke

    You don't need to be a gym rat. Just work out regularly or do some kind of excercises on a regular basis will improve your quality of life. How many healthy and fit people that you see out there die from heart attacks, strokes and other health related issues? I'm sure it's far less than those who don't or never do any kind of fitness exercises.

    November 1, 2010 at 22:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cole

      Well, exercise is good, but plenty of fit people do give into complications. Exercising is great for your health, but let's not exaggerate the impact. Genetics and choices outside of exercise, such as drugs, are a bigger part of the picture.

      November 2, 2010 at 18:14 | Report abuse |
  7. hd

    I have a chronic incurable illness ... When I exercise daily it lessens the hideousness of the pain associated ... possibly because it makes my body therefore brain concentrate on another area. When I sweat which I do it also releases allot of junk as well that seems to get the "systems" flowing. Also the pain meds and antibiotics seem to hit the entire body verses a more central core area and I seem to need less. Again, exercise does not cure it. I still have all of the issues but exercise seems to lessen the issues for a few hours and keeps my condition from getting worse as fast as it does with other patients with my condition I think ...NO MATTER WHAT, a few hours away from extreme chronic pain at a lessened pain level is a welcome relief and even if it does nothing I think.I am trying to fight which beats sitting and complaining

    November 1, 2010 at 23:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • musicianman

      As Dr Weil says, everyone needs a good osteopath. I found a great osteopath/acupuncturist. I balance east w/west.
      .

      November 1, 2010 at 23:27 | Report abuse |
  8. kkg

    If you exercise, you need to take good food and rest well too. Lots of vitamins & proteins.
    Otherwise, it actually increases the frequency of falling ill in my experience.
    This particular study is one dimensional, where good health is actually dependent of many parameters,
    some of which simply cannot be measured. But can't be helped – this is fundamentally a gray area.
    There is never going to be one prescription that fits all when it comes to good health.

    November 2, 2010 at 05:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Mary L

    LOL!
    I have been sniffles and flu free for years at a time as long as I avoid human contact. No exercise needed.
    When I used to babysit, the kids always brought the latest germs and flu viruses to me like I was a magnet.
    But now I have been without a cold or flu for many many months.
    If I were in constant contact with my fellow humans, I would want to be in better shape anyway to defend myself. 😀

    November 2, 2010 at 07:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Bob

    Here's another problem with this article. It says that the exercisers complain of fewer symptoms. That does not mean they are sick less. It could be that they don't focus on it as much or have a lot of other things going on. Are there differences in explanatory styles between runners and non runners? You bet!

    November 2, 2010 at 07:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Tori

    "new study suggests..;tended to have...;Exercise is thought to...;so-called runner's high... ;potentially affect...;It's also possible...;tend to lead...."

    Did anyone else notice the way this article was written? There are so many “if-but-then” type phrases- it doesn’t seem very scientific at all. The author just threw a bunch of assumptions together and called it “research.” Terrible.

    November 2, 2010 at 07:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe

      Don't exercise then. All those people at the gym have been horribly misinformed by this article. FOOLS!

      November 3, 2010 at 15:41 | Report abuse |
  12. KC

    I wouldn't say I get sick less than my husband who doesn't run or exercise..... but he is definitely the big baby and whines more.

    November 2, 2010 at 08:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Mike

    I work out 3-5 days a week, doing running, lifting, or brazilian jiu jitsu. In the 2.5 years I have been working my new job, I have taken roughly a week's worth of sick leave - that is how often I get sick. And when I do get sick, it's very light; usually only some moderate coughing for bronchitis that lasts maybe one day. After that i am good to go. And my employers like this a lot 😉

    November 2, 2010 at 08:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. maddawg

    HUGE LMAOs @ the typical follower lemmings...

    of all the people i know that are 'health nuts' from everything to what they put into their bodies to what exercise they do...........every single one of them has a severe illness of one type or another and the funniest part........???

    they actually are flabbergasted with suprise at "how can this happen to me? im always so healthy!"

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha....

    laughter truly is the very best medicine!!! i challenge any of you health nuts to any challenge!! you will surely lose and ponder the question...WHY? time and again......

    November 2, 2010 at 09:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • eeyore

      Oh, dry up. You don't have any secret weapon against illness, either, and you're certainly prone to attacks of the worst sickness of all-stupidity.

      November 2, 2010 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
  15. MAS

    The road in the photo looks very dangerous to run on. What's the use of reducing your risk of catching a cold if you're increasing your risk of getting run over by a truck?!! 🙂

    November 2, 2010 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wyatt

      Looks pretty ideal to run on – scenic, no traffic, and the runner is running against the flow of traffic (when it does occur). He/she can see the truck coming and react accordingly.

      November 2, 2010 at 12:56 | Report abuse |
  16. Triathlete

    Lots of deluded people commenting on this blog to justify why they don't work out. Personally, I think laziness is a plague. I've been there, I've done that, and I can say that I'm most definitely healthier now that I work out 6 days a week, 50 weeks a year. Haven't been sick in ages. I work 60 hour weeks and still manage to get about 14 hours of workouts in there somewhere, plus hanging out with friends and taking care of kids. What do you guys do, watch TV?

    November 2, 2010 at 09:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cole

      Again, the article is about how exercise can reduce the duration and symptoms of an illness. But, IT DOES NOT PREVENT YOU FROM GETTING SICK. Whether or not you exercise, If you're near a sick person, the odds of you getting a virus is the same.

      November 2, 2010 at 18:21 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      You don't know what you are talking about. The extent of ones ability to exercise is determined genetically and through prior experience. You either were born lucky or were lucky to have had experiences consistent with adopting the exercise habits you did. Stop the blame game, Triathlete. You've been lucky.

      November 3, 2010 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Yea. Genetics must factor into the 60 hour work weeks too.

      November 3, 2010 at 15:45 | Report abuse |
    • percysmama

      Sounds like a lot of lazy people commenting. I am a firm believer that almost anyone can exercise and that most people would not need any medicine or get sick if they do. Exercise is easy go for a walk get off your butt. It has nothing to do with genetics. That is the stupidest thing I have read and I am sure you are a drain on the health care system. What do any of you have to lose besides weight. My 70 year old neighbor just started walking 2 miles 5 days a week with his wife. He worked his way up to it and he has lost 50 pounds.

      November 4, 2010 at 17:21 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      I would suggest that you look up the Heritage Study on the effects of genetics on exercise abilities. As far as previous experience, I started running when I was ten. Because I started so early it was easier to maintain the habit as someone starting at age 30. Not everyone starts that early. You going to blame someone for not starting to run at age ten or earlier? That makes no sense. All some people do is play the blame game. If someone is fat it's their own fault. That is you philosophy. Well it is wrong. You are not as perfect as you believe yourself to be.

      November 4, 2010 at 19:57 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      By the way, I do work out. I have a full gym in my basement and have run several marathons. But I will never run more than 8 miles anymore because anything more than that is destructive. Racing is not worth it for most people. It does more harm than good.

      November 4, 2010 at 20:00 | Report abuse |
    • percysmama

      I am 42 and I started running at 30. it took a full year to run 3 miles since then I have run 1 marathon and 2 halfs plus many other races. I did not race. My philosophy is the girl in the back makes the 1,2,3 winners. One of the women I started running with was a 54 year old morbidly obese woman. It took her 3 years of training and she slowly ran a marathon. and lost 100 pounds.Great for her she took back her life. It was hard work and I do not suggest marathons. I will probably never do one again, but everyone can exersice.

      November 5, 2010 at 11:45 | Report abuse |
  17. MwK

    I think we all agree that regular exercise combined with proper diet and nutrition has its benefits with improving ones health no matter what ones current health status might be.

    November 2, 2010 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. checkdent

    My mood gets heightened when I run, it's the endorphin overflow that makes it so good, and sometimes I have to stop myself cause I'll get overly exhausted.

    November 2, 2010 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Wyatt

    When I get sick, I like to go for enough of a run to get a good sweat going – then eat, shower, and bed. Regular exercise helps promote healthy sleeping patterns, which work in favor of the immune system.

    November 2, 2010 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
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    November 2, 2010 at 21:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. TM

    I am sure that there are numerous benefits to exercise, however, wait the study fails to account for is the increased incidence of illness as a result of exercising in close quarters with others with non-optimal gym and exercise hygiene. I have been exercising religiously for 1-2 hours a day, seven days a week, for over ten years. I still get sick when I focus my exercise indoors in crowded gyms where disease and illness spread like wildfire. However, when I workout outdoors I do not get sick quite as frequently. The immune system may receive a boost after exercise but I do think with the prevalence of illness circulating and most gyms that the benefit is marginal at most.

    November 2, 2010 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. T K RAO

    My mother is 80 years old. Recently she was fell sick. I had taken my mother to doctor told that she takes very less diet. Considering her age he had prescribed minimal prescription of Ayurvedic medicines. Now she is hale and healthy. She does her routine works and also yoga.
    I am not a doctor but I advise all my relatives that the best medicine FOOD THERAPY. Take good diet with minimal exercises one will always be healthy and liverly.

    November 3, 2010 at 03:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Daniel Bucher

    In reading this article then comments posted already I have realized that a lot of the comments had to have been posted without even reading the article. I cant decide whether posting these negative comments is just out of a lack of something better to do or sheer stupidity. I am an avid runner and believe that this author has done a remarkable job in pointing out that fact that people who moderately exercise about 5 days a week on average lessen the amount of days that they are going to get sick and as well as the severity of their symptoms. The author is not saying that it cures the cold or the flu just that it reduces the length and severity that these viruses affect your body.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • percysmama

      I understand what the author is saying, but in my experience exercise has helped me fend off sickness. Running when I have the sniffles makes me better. I know I am sharing my experience.

      November 4, 2010 at 17:14 | Report abuse |
  24. Bob

    As someone who ran for 40 years and can no longer run due to destroyed joints I say keep the distance moderate. Running marathons, which I have run, are not worth it.

    November 3, 2010 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Erik

    How about that heel strike in that photo? Someone needs to change their stride a bit.

    November 3, 2010 at 22:53 | Report abuse | Reply
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  27. Greg

    Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent or fight off illness. You can find exercises posted on Holosfitness.com that can help strengthen the body, boost your immune system, and reduce your susceptibility to disease. Holosfitness.com is a free online fitness tool with step-by-step instruction on hundreds of exercises.

    November 4, 2010 at 14:49 | Report abuse | Reply
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    November 4, 2010 at 15:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Cecilia

    I never go to the gym, but I eat very healthy and I have a low-stress life style, regardless, I feel tired and sick all the time. I did feel much much better years ago when going to the gym and excercising was a regular activity in my life. I do think it imporves you body and you mind, even if you dont have a study that give you enough of proof to convince you..

    November 4, 2010 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. percysmama

    I exercise about 6 days a week. I mostly run sometimes walk for 2.5- 3.2 miles. I am rarely sick and I usually only get the pre cold symptoms feeling moderately bad highly functional for a day or two. Most of the time I run through the pre sick feeling and never get more than that. I am a firm believer that exercise helps you stay healthy. In the last 15 years I have had the flu 2 times and only 3 bad colds. Most years it is just mild sniffles. The discipline pays off in that and my mood is better.

    November 4, 2010 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. notmyrealname

    I see Bobby is still pretending that he knows what he's talking about. Hospital workers are no more immune to colds than anyone else. Unless you have had a particular rhinovirus, and there are thousands of them, you aren't immune to it. If you come into contact with it and your system is vulnerable due to lack of sleep, less than optimal nutrition, or a host of other causes, you are just as likely to get it as the next person.

    As you age, because you've been exposed to more rhinoviruses and have therefore developed immunity to more of them, you catch fewer colds. It has nothing to do with your profession, and hospital workers are not in possession of stronger immune systems than anyone else, Booby.

    Stop pretending you're an authority on medicine. You just look dumb.

    November 6, 2010 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Jenn

    Bob, stop acting like you know everything. Nobody likes an arrogant fool.

    November 7, 2010 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. James

    I exercise 5-6 days/week, & alternate using an elliptical machine & riding a bike on alternate days. ( I usually go ~ 50 minutes @ 70-85% of max heart rate). I always feel better afterward, & the improved "sense of well being" generally lasts a day, so it makes sense to try to go every day, for me. I also have found that my glucose level & blood pressure are better when I'm exercising regularly. (I'm healthy, but am interested in keeping an eye on these). As for the comments about too much running (too far &/or too fast, marathons, etc.) being destructive, I think this is a matter of much debate. Many (maybe most) orthopedists seem to think that higher mileage running is not damaging to joints (i.e., knees) IF you don't have a "preexisting injury" – & I think therein lies the problem. It seems to me that you may already have had a preexisting injury (or have joint disease in progress) & not be aware of it. So, as a middle aged guy who wants to preserve joint function, running is not a core part of my workout regimen. On another point, I would like to know what the "optimal amount" of cardio exercise is for health (in terms of both frequency and how strenuous). I think what I'm doing is pretty close, but I may be overdoing it ... not sure. I do think that among journalists these days it's politically correct to only report benefits of exercise, & "irresponsible" to suggest negative aspects of exercise.

    November 8, 2010 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
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