University of Illinois researchers report that four consecutive days of moderate exercise in mice after they were infected with influenza protects them from dying, compared with mice that didn’t exercise. This protective effect was more evident in mice greater than 16 weeks of age, an age at which they are immunologically more mature. The takeaway message: exercise regularly because you never know when you’ll be exposed!
Jeffrey A. Woods, PhD., and graduate student Tom Lowder at the Physical Fitness Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of Illinois, Urbana, said their lab has a long-time interest in exercise and its influence on the immune system. (See “Exercise delays allogeneic tumor growth and reduces intratumoral inflammation and vascularization,” by Mark R. Zielinski et al., Journal of Applied Physiology, June 2004, published by the American Physiological Society.)
“We had completed a lot of in vitro studies, but we wanted to study now how exercise affected animals against a real infectious challenge,” Woods said. The question they addressed in their study, “Protective effect of exercise on mortality due to influenza in mice,” was “can exercise protect against morbidity and mortality?” While exercise protected mice from mortality, it didn’t seem to have any affect on gross measures of sickness behavior like food intake and cage activity.
Mayer Resnick | EurekAlert!
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