Boost your body’s immune system and its flu-fighting, I-refuse-to-get-sick ability with a regular, high-intensity workout routine. A report released by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine just after the peak of flu season this year notes that vigorous exercise can reduce your chances of catching the bug.
Using the online tool Flusurvey, researchers gathered data from more than 4,800 participants. They found that logging at least 2.5 hours of vigorous exercise per week can reduce your chances of catching the flu by roughly 10%. Intensity is key, as moderate exercise produced no difference in flu rates.
While these preliminary findings are interesting, it’s important to keep in mind that this shows a link, not a cause. Perhaps people who regularly log HIIT sessions may also have other healthy habits such as a eating a balanced diet, practicing proper hygiene, and clocking an acceptable amount of sleep.
Either way, the potential preventative effect of your boot-camp class is just another reason to attend more often. Note that "vigorous exercise" falls somewhere between a 17 and a 19 on an effort-level scale of 1-20, says the American Heart Association. Just be sure not to overdue it; exercise is stress on the body, and elevated cortisol levels can alter and weaken your immune system.
So, it looks like we’ll see you in Spin class as we head into flu season — unless you already have the sniffles, in which case, definitely stay home.