Moderate Exercise Wards Off Colds in Older Women

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SEATTLE, Oct. 26 — Fit older women are less likely to come down with a cold, researchers here concluded. Action Points

When talking with interested postmenopausal patients, inform them that 30 or 45 minutes of moderate daily exercise, such as brisk walking, may help prevent colds, in addition to providing other fitness benefits.
They said that postmenopausal women who want to reduce their risk of sneezes and sniffles might do well to rise up from the couch and start walking.
Over a year, women who took part in a moderate-intensity exercise program, such as brisk walking, had a reduced risk of colds, compared with those who did not work out regularly, Cornelia Ulrich, Ph.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center here, and colleagues, reported online in the November issue of the American Journal of Medicine.
The ability to ward off colds increased over time, with the non-exercisers having almost three times as many colds as the exercisers in the last three months of the year-long study, said.
This suggests the importance of sticking with an exercise program, Dr. Ulrich said. The cold study was part of an investigation into the effect of physical activity on markers of breast-cancer risk.
A total of 115 overweight and obese, sedentary, non-smoking postmenopausal women in the Seattle area, recruited from 1998 to 2000, participated in the study. Of the women, 53 were randomly assigned to a moderate-intensity exercise group, while 62 controls attended a once-weekly, 45-minute stretching session.

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