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Preventing the flu with exercise

‘Aussie Flu’ has been the talk of the town in the first week of 2018 in Ireland. Reports are stating a 10% increase of people on trolleys in hospital from this time last year. Experts are also stating that this could be Irelands worst flu epidemic since 1968, with this in mind people are understandably looking into the best ways to prevent catching the disease and it turns out regular exercise is one of the best ways to go about preventing catching the flu.

Research states that regular moderate exercise can help boost your immune system therefore decreasing any chances of catching the disease in the first place and reduce recovery time if you do get sick. A recent study of nearly 1000 people found that staying active and having a good diet halved the odds of catching any viruses. The same study showed that those who kept up regular exercise were unwell about 5 days of a 3 month period compared to nine days for those who were not physically active.

The basic science behind why exercise helps prevent flu is that when you exercise your white blood cells (which protect the body from infection and foreign invaders) travel through the body quicker therefore making them more effective. If you do catch the flu however then exercise may not be the best thing to do, if you are coming down with flu symptoms it is best too take it easy as rest gives your body a chance to recover.

Using the sauna can help reduce flu symptoms as scientists believe that it improves drainage and that high temperatures weaken viruses that cause colds and flus. A study about using saunas to prevent colds and flus showed that those who used a sauna regularly contacted half as many colds as those who didn’t.

While exercising at your health club make sure that they have hand sanitizers available on the gym floor and you of course use it to help prevent the spreading of any viruses as the flu is contagious. Try to eat a balanced diet and regularly clean surfaces such as your phone, keyboard and door handles to kill germs. Stay safe and stay active this Winter.