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Study Finds Exercise Not Associated With Increased Risk of Infection

Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. Previous research has suggested however that arduous exercise may suppress immunity and increase infection risk. Now a new study suggests that athletes are more likely to get infections due to factors such as inadequate diet and travel and not due to the act of exercising.

Several renowned experts in the exercise immunology field examined scientific evidence for this review. They concluded that factors such as stress, sleep, nutrition, travel, and pathogen exposure at social gathering events like marathons play a major role in the increased risk of infection for athletes. They say there is very little evidence that exercising itself increases the risk of being infected by a virus.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Arizona, the University of Bath, the University of Newcastle, the University of Canberra, and Justus-Liebig University. It was published in the January, 2020 edition of the journal Exercise Immunology Review.

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