Today, March 20, 2017, while I was researching again on upper respiratory tract infections, I came across these statements: “people who exercise regularly are less likely to get upper respiratory tract infections or if they do, the symptoms are less severe.” I was so happy to see these statements as last January 1, 2017, I was telling my family and my friends that for the first time in my life I did not get a colds or coughs or upper respiratory tract infection in 2016. I personally attributed it to my daily walking exercise of at least 3 km and 10 minutes of bending and stretching exercises. I did not know there were studies on this topic.
Last February 10, 2017, I went to Indonesia for 3 days to give a lecture. My wife was originally scheduled to go with me. She had to cancel her trip because of severe upper respiratory infections. No doubt I was exposed to her virus. When I was at the Manila airport on February 10, 2017 at 10 pm waiting for my delayed flight to Jakarta, I felt I was starting to go down with the infection with a little soreness on my throat. I arrived in Jakarta at 3 am.and slept for 2 hours to catch a plane at 6 am to fly to Yogyakarta. I was not able to rest when I arrived in Yogyakarta at about 1030 am. I attended a plenary session at 1 pm.and then delivered my lecture at 3 pm. I was expecting to lose my voice when I gave my lecture. Fortunately, it did not happen. I just felt tired for the next 3 days during my stay in Indonesia. I was able to attend the dinner for the symposium participants on February 11. I was able to go Borobudur on February 12 and dinner at the hill.
I was back in Manila on February 13. On February 14, I had my clinic sessions. On February 15 to 16, 2017, I was in Nueva Vizcaya for a coaching session for Salubris Medical Center. With a cancellation of my flight back from Cauyan, Isabela to Manila, I had to take a 9-hour bus trip and arrived 1 am of February 17, 2017. Then, I did a modified radical mastectomy at 7 am in the Philippine General Hospital. I thought I would be down with the upper respiratory infection. But, I did not.
What happened to me in February 10, 2017 and there about proved the second part of the statement (I like to believe): “people who exercise regularly are less likely to get upper respiratory tract infections or if they do, the symptoms are less severe.” Yes, less severe.
Here are the studies that show physical activity reduces the number of colds and the severity of cold symptoms.
David C Nieman, et al. Upper respiratory tract infection is reduced in physically fit and active adults. Br J Sports Med 2010; doi:10.1136/bjsm.2010.077875.
The Effect of Regular Physical Exercise on Catching Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
Conclusion: Regular physical exercise was found to be protective against catching URTI even other factors such as nutrition, stress, sleep pattern, smoking, living conditions, have been taken into consideration.
Actual personal experience: ROJoson has been doing daily 3-km walking and 10-15 minutes of bending and stretching since January 1, 2016. For the first time in his life in 2016, he did not have a bout of upper respiratory infection. Before 2016, he used to have about 2 bouts of upper respiratory infections a year. In February 2017, assuming he had a bout of respiratory tract infection, the symptoms were mild that they did not restrict his usual chores.