Men's Health (UK) - - In This Issue -

Your best de­fence against of­fice colds is to lace up and leave bugs eat­ing your dust

Some­times, even sci­en­tists get it wrong. For years, the con­sen­sus has been that a re­lent­less win­ter train­ing sched­ule can lead to a de­bil­i­tat­ing case of man flu: run or rep your­self into the ground and your de­fences will crum­ble. But myth-bust­ing re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Bath have an al­ter­na­tive the­ory: they be­lieve that en­durance ex­er­cise ac­tu­ally boosts your im­mu­nity. Warm­ing news, in­deed.

Dur­ing ex­er­cise, the num­ber of in­fec­tion-fight­ing T-cells in the blood can in­crease to 10 times the nor­mal amount. In ear­lier stud­ies, sci­en­tists noted a steep de­cline of these lym­pho­cytes in the hours fol­low­ing a work­out and as­sumed they were be­ing lost or de­stroyed – leav­ing the body open to ill­ness. How­ever, ac­cord­ing to the new re­search, pub­lished in Fron­tiers in Im­munol­ogy, the cells are sim­ply be­ing re­lo­cated to ar­eas more sus­cep­ti­ble to in­fec­tion – your lungs, for ex­am­ple – ready to re­pel in­vad­ing pathogens.

Work­ing out for two hours was found to pro­vide the op­ti­mal boost to your de­fences. That means get­ting ahead of the pack on your half-marathon plan could be the most ef­fec­tive way to out­run of­fice bugs. The icy win­ter weather is no longer an ex­cuse to put your train­ing into hi­ber­na­tion. So, lace up, warm up and brace your­self.

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