Physical activity and upper respiratory infection


  1. Shephard, R.J.
  2. Shek, P.N.
Corporate Authors
Defence and Civil Inst of Environmental Medicine, Downsview ONT (CAN)
Interest in the influence of physical activity on resistance to infectious disease has been stimulated by recurring reports that whereas moderate training enhances immune responses, excessive amounts of exercise-whether a single marathon run or a period of excessive training leading up to international competition-can suppress immune function for several hours to a week. The impact upon personal health of such changes in the immune response has been a source of controversy for many years. (Cannon, 1993). Many exercise scientists now believe that although susceptibility to bacterial infections remains unaltered, the affected individual is at increased risk of upper respiratory infections (Brenner, Shek, & Shephard, 1994; Nieman, 1994; Gabriel & Kindermann, 1995; Peters-Future, 1997). Others still argue that special factors associated with high-performance competition give a false impression of an increased vulnerability to viral infections (Cannon, 1993). This chapter summarizes normal mechanisms of defense against acute viral infections and considers briefly how protection may be modified by participation in acute and chronic physical activity. TRUNCATED
Immune function;Immune response;Immune suppression;Immunostimulating;Interleukin;Leukocytes;Natural killer cells;Respiratory infections;Bacterial infections;Viral infections
Report Number
DCIEM-98-P-66 — Reprint
Date of publication
01 Dec 2000
Number of Pages
Reprinted from
Physchoneuroimmunology, 3rd Edition, vol 2, 2001, p 511-523
Hardcopy;Document Image stored on Optical Disk

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