June 23, 2010
A surprising treatment
for summer colds
It seems like a lot of people are suffering through summer colds this year. When you have a cold, all you feel like doing is lying down and resting. While rest is important, colds shouldn't keep you down all day. That's because you need to do something else to treat the cold — and you can't do it in bed.
This treatment might come as a surprise to you. But it confirms what I noticed when I was a youth. When I had a cold, I would often go over to a friend's house where the neighborhood boys would play a vigorous game of basketball. I got a whopping work out. But I noticed that it seemed to burn out the cold. Now research has confirmed what I observed at age 13.
Investigators found results so much in favor of exercise in two little known studies, that they were totally surprised. Cold symptoms got much better with exercise; however, the time to full recovery from the cold was the same. So it lessened the strength, but not the duration, of the cold.
Of course, if you have a fever, your energy will be low, and that's a signal for rest. I did venture out with significant fever back in the "old days." However, there's a huge difference between what a 13-year-old can do versus a 73-year-old. These days, I still stay active if I fall mildly ill, but I don't do a full-bore work out.
A simple way to keep your muscles strong as you get older (and it isn't exercise)
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So if your symptoms are limited to runny nose, sneezing, etc. — the typical head cold - you might consider some vigorous activity. It just might make those unpleasant symptoms a bit more tolerable.
Yours for better health and medical freedom,
Ref: New York Times, 12/24/08.