Five times a week

Exercising regularly is good for people’s immune systems, with research suggesting that it may even lower the risk of upper respiratory infections, such as the common cold.

ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie suggests that even 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week is enough to bring about benefits.

He says exercise is beneficial for the immune system, partly because of the hormones it helps to release.

“These are called catecholamines, which people may know better as adrenaline and noradrenaline. They elicit the quick release of important immune cells that help detect the presence of viruses or other pathogens in the body. They also increase the amount of movement of the immune cells between the blood and tissue, which helps immune cells detect and prevent illnesses caused by viruses or other pathogens.”

He adds that research shows exercise is one of the best ways to increase these hormone levels, although not much research has been done yet to determine whether exercising while sick with a cold will help you get over your illness quicker than if you don’t exercise.

“People should use exercise as a prevention tool, not a treatment.” he says. “But they shouldn’t feel they have to exercise if they are sick. Sometimes the best remedy for a cold is rest, staying hydrated and taking any prescribed medicines if needed.”

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