(NaturalNews) Staying physically fit may reduce your time spent sick during cold and flu season by nearly 50 percent, according to a study conducted by researchers from Appalachian State University and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Researchers followed 1,002 adults younger than age 86 for 12 weeks in either the fall or winter of 2008. Participants reported how much time they spent exercising and rated their own fitness on a 10-point scale. The researchers found that after adjusting for potentially complicating factors such as age, body mass index, education, fruit intake, marital status, mental stress and sex, people who exercised at least five days per week spent 43 percent less time with an upper respiratory tract infection than people who exercised one or fewer days per week.
The reduction in sick time was caused both by lower infection and quicker recovery rates.
People who self-reported as highly fit spent 46 percent less time sick than people who reported low fitness. Severity of illness was also 41 percent lower in those who reported high fitness or high levels of aerobic activity.
In contrast to the strong results seen in the study, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of the much-hyped flu vaccines. Critics allege that the shots are unreliable and unnecessarily expose people to potentially severe side effects.
"The bottom line is that there is no real advantage in having a flu shot," writes Andreas Moritz in her book Timeless Secrets of Health & Rejuvenation.
"Certainly, given the frailty of so many of the oldest members of society, there is absolutely no reliable way of telling whether the flu or something else may have led to their death. The death rate in and out of the flu season is actually about the same. But then, as we have seen with AIDS, statistics can be manipulated in ways that support theories which have only one objective, to keep the medical business going."