If there were a way to avoid getting colds and the flu, would you do it? There is some compelling evidence that there may be just such an antidote! Meditation and exercise both appear to reduce the frequency of acute respiratory infections—colds and flu.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin assigned 149 participants, mostly women and all over 50 years old, to one of three groups. One group took an 8-week training program in mindfulness meditation, the second an 8-week training in moderate intensity sustained exercise and the third served as an observational control group. They studied the participants for the duration of one cold and flu season. These results were pretty remarkable.
Acute Respiratory Infections by Group
Meditation - 27
Exercise - 26
Control - 40
Total Days of Illness by Group
Meditation - 257
Exercise - 241
Control - 453
Days of Work Missed by Group
Meditation - 16
Exercise - 32
Control - 67
The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and reported in the Annals of Family Medicine in July, 2012.
In addition to washing your hands and getting your flu shot, this cold and flu season you may also want to engage in some mindful meditation techniques or sustained exercise!
This article was originally published in Pathways Residential Care Journal - Issue 5. To download this issue in PDF format, or past issues, visit our newsletter archives online at www.pathwayshealth.org/publications.