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How To Get The Most Protection From A Flu Shot

images-2What can you do to reduce the likelihood that the flu will do you? One, get a flu shot. That’s a no-brainer. Two, as Gretchen Reynolds explains in this piece in the New York Times, do some exercise. Reynolds cites a 2009 study of two groups of sedentary, elderly adults, one of which was required to do a program of brisk walking while the other did a balance and stretching routine. After ten weeks, the walkers had significantly improved their aerobic fitness, and 20 weeks after getting a flu shot, they had a higher average influenza antibody count than the group that had been stretching. Wait there’s more: Reynolds writes about a study at Iowa State University that put young, healthy volunteers through a moderately paced 90-minute jog or bike ride 15 minutes after receiving their flu shot while another group of volunteers sat quietly. Correct, the researchers found that joggers and riders had almost twice the antibody response of the sedentary group. And still more: in a third study cited by Reynolds, researchers at the University of Birmingham in England had healthy, adult volunteers lift weights (doing several sets of curls and side arm raises)  for 20 minutes several hours before they were given a flu shot, focusing on the arm that would be injected. Right again: the researchers found that those who had exercised before the shot generally displayed higher antibody levels than a group that did no exercise before the shot. Read more in the New York Times.

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