Exercise may lower your risk of death from flu, pneumonia

Exercise may lower your risk of death from flu, pneumonia

Surely you don’t need to hear another reason exercise can benefit you, but here it is: Becoming physically active could help prevent your risk of dying from flu or pneumonia.

Aerobic and strength activity that meets federal exercise guidelines reduces a person’s risk of dying from influenza or pneumonia by 48%. That’s the finding in a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans call for adults to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity and two or more days of moderate muscle strengthening activities a week.

The study relied on data from more than 570,000 people during the U.S. National Health Interview Survey, which lasted from 1998 until 2018. Participants were asked about their exercise habits and placed into groups based on how well they met the recommendations.

The respondents were monitored for about nine years after the survey. During that time, more than 1,500 of them died from flu or pneumonia.

While meeting both aerobic and strength exercise guidelines dropped a person’s risk of a flu- or pneumonia-related death by nearly half, meeting just the aerobic activity goal was associated with a 36% lower risk.

Influenza kills between 12,000 and 52,000 Americans each year; pneumonia about 50,000. They are among the world’s leading killers.

If you can’t meet the cardio and strength exercise guidelines, don’t fret.

Even far less exercise can lower your risk of death from flu or pneumonia. Marching in place through commercials as you watch TV or using household items instead of weights to improve your strength — any activity is better than none.

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