A report on a UK survey suggests that vigorous exercise may help reduce the risk of catching the flu. The survey finds no such link with moderate exercise. However, the report authors stress the results are preliminary and should be treated with caution.
The findings come from the UK Flusurvey, in which more than 4,800 people have so far taken part this year. The online survey, which is now in its fifth year, is run by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
The release is geared to coincide with National Science & Engineering Week, an annual event run by the British Science Association that aims to encourage more young people to engage in science.
Dr. Alma Adler, Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who is also an ambassador for National Science & Engineering Week, says:
“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.”
She emphasizes the need to treat the preliminary findings cautiously but also notes they are consistent with findings for other illnesses, adding to evidence about the health benefits of exercise.
Vigorous versus moderate exercise
The survey results suggest doing vigorous exercise for at least 2.5 hours a week can reduce the chance of experiencing a flu-like illness by around 10%.
A news release from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine notes that based on the data they have analyzed from more than 4,800 people who have completed the survey so far, the findings: