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Exercise and the Common Cold

Upper respiratory tract infections (URTI), such as the common cold, are the most frequently occurring illnesses in humans worldwide. More than 200 different viruses cause the common cold, and rhinoviruses and coronaviruses are the culprits 25% to 60% of the time. However, research shows that even moderate exercise improves a person's immunity to URTI.

Regular Exercise Lowers URTI Risk

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that more than 1 billion URTI occur annually in the United States, a leading cause of lost school and workdays. The average person has 2 or 3 respiratory infections each year, with young children suffering 6 to 7.

A common belief among fitness enthusiasts is that regular exercise confers resistance against infection. In surveys, 80% to 90% of regular ...

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