Regular aerobic exercise is a proven means of getting the body’s immune system into gear.

Markus Wanjek from a school for prevention and health management in Saarbruecken, Germany said outdoor activities in the fresh air such as jogging and Nordic walking are recommended. An alternative is indoor training on a treadmill or cross-trainer.

“This helps people get through critical times of the year infection-free and start spring in good health,” said Wanjek. As with any form of physical exercise, it’s important to make sure the intensity matches one’s own capacity.

A beefed-up immune system and improved functioning of certain immune cells leads to a proven reduction in the infection rate of the upper respiratory passages and the body’s general susceptibility to infection.

“In particular people who complain about being highly susceptible to infection profit especially from regular, moderately intense aerobic exercise,” said Wanjek. “However, a training program that is too intensive, too extensive and too exhausting with insufficient time for recovery has the opposite effect.” Wanjek added. The latter could temporarily weaken the immune system and increase the susceptibility to infection, he said.