Study Links Vigorous Exercise to Lowered Flu Risk; Other Methods to Keep Flu at Bay

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By Roshni Mahesh | March 18, 2014 6:54 PM EST

Engaging in vigorous exercise may help reduce risk of developing flu, a new online survey reveals.

Findings are based on the Flusurvey, conducted by the London School of Hygiene &Tropical Medicine. During the survey, more than 4,800 people completed a weekly online questionnaire. The participants answered questions related to their age, children and their vaccination status. Participants also recorded the total hours they spent for various types of vigorous activities including running, sports or fast cycling, BBC News reported.

dabboj/Flickr
Engaging in vigorous exercise may help reduce risk of developing flu, a new online survey reveals.

Sparing at least 2.5 hours for vigorous exercises a week was associated with 10 percent reduction in flu-like illness. However, moderate exercises were found of little help in lowering the risk.

"We're really interested in the preliminary findings around fitness activity and flu-like illness, as exercise is something that everyone can do to reduce your chance of having flu," Dr Alma Adler from the the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said in a news release.

"We need to treat this result cautiously as these are preliminary findings, however, they are consistent with findings for other conditions and really show the health benefits of exercise. Although many people have dodged the flu bullet this winter, flu can occur at any time, so taking advantage of the better weather is a great opportunity to get out and get fit to ward off flu this spring."

Here are some other methods that help prevent catching flu, as provided by NHS Choices, UK:

  • Follow a healthy diet
  • Taking lots of warm drinks in winter
  • Exercise regularly
  • Take a flu vaccine
  • Frequent washing of hands
  • Stop touching nose and eyes without washing hands

Following is a list of vigorous and moderate exercises as provided by the Harvard School of Public Health:

Vigorous activity

  • Bicycling between 14 and 16 miles per hour
  • Playing basketball, soccer and Tennis single
  • Hiking
  • Jogging at six miles per hour
  • Activities like manual shoveling or carrying and moving heavy loads

On the other hand moderate activity includes walking at four miles per hour, bicycling between 10 and 12 miles per hour, playing games (tennis, badminton) for recreational purpose, cleaning works including mopping or vacuuming and mowing lawn.

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(Photo: dabboj/Flickr / )
Engaging in vigorous exercise may help reduce risk of developing flu, a new online survey reveals.
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