March 28, 2016

Escape a Cold with Exercise

Spring is finally here – which means that cold season is on its way out, hurrah! But just in case you’re still sniffling (or maybe your neighbor is), a trip to MIT Recreation may be just what the doctor orders.

Why? Well, while high-intensity training has been shown to burn through our immune system’s reserves, moderate intensity can have the opposite effect. And with no cure or vaccine available for the common cold, your body’s immune system is the best defense you have going.

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So just how active should you get to reach the magical immune-boosting level of ‘moderate’? A good guiding principle is any activity that makes you break out into a sweat and during which you could talk, but not be able to sing. And for added benefits like cancer prevention, you might consider getting in at least 60 minutes of exercise daily.

If an hour every day sounds challenging though – good news. Progress may trump perfection. Every daily bout of moderate exercise seems to bump the immune system up to a high-efficiency level for about 3 hours, after which it goes back down to its starting point. So every day you work out gives you a boost – you don’t have to accomplish a perfect workout week to see some results. But of course the more you manage, the better your resting immune level gets, and the better your odds get of skipping that next round of colds.

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If you happen to be here with us in the MIT & surrounding community, we offer lots of ways to get an hour of moderate exercise into your routine. Try out a Group Ex Class like Pilates or BollyEx, sign up for a semester-long Instructional Program in aquatics or strength training, or even arrange to have the gym come to you with Pop-Up PT. Whatever works for you, do it, be safe and stay healthy!