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Low to moderate activity may help protect you from influenza infections. A study of almost 25,000 people from China suggests that exercise was protective against the H1N1 influenza. Heavier, or more frequent, exercise was no more protective.
Nevertheless, it is a myth that a vigorous workout will decrease your immune function as shown in this study.
This is a time to use good judgement. If you’re feeling sick, suspect you might have been exposed, or are unusually fatigued, it is a good time to rest, in bed if necessary. If in doubt get tested or see the Peanut Butter Test if testing is unavailable. Elevated temperature is a sure sign you need to self isolate and get to bed.
For those of use who are isolating, it is a good time to exercise both for it’s immune as well as mental health effects.
There are lots of online exercise classes.
Getting out and walking is fine and running is fine. While heavy exercise is fine if you are used to it don’t overdo it. If you are out of shape, take it easy.
The good news is that even if you can’t do a full weight workout now, there is evidence that if you started out in shape, you can get back in a hurry once life returns to normal.
I’m a fan of HIIT or interval training which means short bursts of high intensity cardio workouts – a total of one minute. Studies by Mark Smith, PhD show that doing 4 1-minute bursts, three days a week has the same cardiovascular effect as running 30 minutes a day. If you want a handout I have prepared for patients, click here.

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