Fitness Fights Colds, Study Finds

Consider the misery: phlegm, wooziness, lousy sleep, ugly coughs. Now that the frost has come, and we’re all more prone to colds, it’s the perfect time for this new study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Its highly inspiring finding: Being physically fit appears to cut a person’s risk of colds almost in half, and when fit people do catch colds, the symptoms tend to be milder.

How might this work? Exercise temporarily boosts the immune system. (And apparently, the boost is enough to combat any added germ exposure in the gym.) The researchers report:

The number of days with symptoms among those who said they were physically active on five or more days of the week and felt fit was almost half (43% to 46% less) that of those who exercised on only one or fewer days of the week.

The severity of symptoms fell by 41% among those who felt the fittest and by 31% among those who were the most active.

In the US, an average adult can expect to have a cold two to four times a year, while children can catch between half a dozen and 10 colds a year, on average, all of which costs the US economy around $40 billion dollars.

iVillage reports here that the researchers found fitness level to be the most significant factor in the number of colds that a person got, beyond age and marital status and gender. But there’s also an alternative explanation: Continue reading

Daily Rounds: Hands-Only CPR; Health Care Lawsuits; Nurses’ Vs. Doctors’ Jobs; Mass. Medical Examiner Challenged; How Not To Fight Colds

The Associated Press: Hands-only CPR saves more lives in cardiac arrests “It’s the first large American study to show more adults survived cardiac arrest when a bystander gave them continuous chest presses to simulate a heartbeat, compared to traditional CPR with mouth-to-mouth breathing.” (

Lawsuits over health care law heat up – “The burst of litigation has the framers of the law and the Obama administration playing defense. Many scholars, such as Charles Fried of Harvard Law School, argue that the law is on firm legal footing. But there is no quick resolution in sight, and it may take a year or two, and a trip to the U.S. Supreme Court, for all the lawsuits to get sorted out.” (USA Today)

Report Says Nurses Have Bigger Jobs To Do, But Doctors Say Not So Fast : Shots – Health News Blog : NPR “Nurses will need to be better educated, says a report just issued by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine. In 10 years, 80 percent of nurses should have bachelor’s degrees. Twice as many nurses should get PhDs and all nurses should do residencies, the sort of practical training that new doctors do.”(

Medical examiner’s credentials are challenged by predecessor – The Boston Globe “The state medical examiner’s office, which has been rocked by repeated controversies, now faces another embarrassing mess: One of the agency’s former top officials is accusing the current chief medical examiner of having falsified credentials.” (Boston Globe)

And last but not least: This came out yesterday and is making the rounds like, well, a cold — a nice debunking of supposed immune-boosters:
Op-Ed Contributor – How Not to Fight Colds – (The New York Times)