Meditation and Exercise as a Prevention of Common Cold?

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(published July 9, 2012 at Medscape Medical News)

Training in mindfulness meditation and sustained moderate-intensity exercise appear to be associated with reduced illness severity and fewer days of missed work because of acute respiratory infections (ARIs), compared with doing nothing, according to the findings of a randomized trial (the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Wisconsin, Madison).

According to the researchers, enhancing general physical and mental health might reduce ARI burden.

The researchers sought to evaluate the ability of meditation or exercise to reduce the incidence, duration, and severity of ARIs in adults 50 years and older.

The standardized 8-week mindful meditation course involved group sessions (2.5 hours weekly) and at-home practice (45 minutes daily). The exercise intervention was similar to the meditation course in terms of time and location, but participants focused on achieving moderate-intensity sustained exercise.

In both meditation and exercise groups was the incidence of ARI reduced almost by 50% compared to the control „doing-nothing“ group.  ARI severity was significantly reduced in both groups.

Members of the control group missed about twice more working days than members of the exercise group and almost  three times more than members of the meditation group.

The researchers note that one of the limitations of this study is that "participants in such a trial cannot be blinded to behavioral training interventions, thus allowing for the possibility of self-report bias."

However, they add that if "these results are confirmed in future studies, there will be important implications for public and private health-related policy and practice, as well as for scientific research regarding mechanisms of health maintenance and disease prevention."

(Good news for all Mind&Body friendly - let's hope it will come true :-))