Exercise and Respiratory Tract Viral Infections

Martin, Stephen A.1,2; Pence, Brandt D.1,2; Woods, Jeffrey A.1,2,3,4

Exercise & Sport Sciences Reviews: October 2009 - Volume 37 - Issue 4 - pp 157-164
doi: 10.1097/JES.0b013e3181b7b57b
Articles

Prolonged intense exercise causes immunosuppression, whereas moderate-intensity exercise improves immune function and potentially reduces risk and severity of respiratory viral infections. Here, based on available evidence, we present a model whereby moderate exercise-induced increases in stress hormones reduce excessive local inflammation and skew the immune response away from a TH1 and toward a TH2 phenotype, thus improving outcomes after respiratory viral infections.

1Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, 2Integrative Immunology and Behavior Program, 3Division of Nutritional Sciences, and 4Department of Pathobiology, College of Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL

Address for correspondence: Jeffrey A. Woods, Ph.D., FACSM, 348 Freer Hall, 906 S. Goodwin Ave, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801 (E-mail: woods1@illinois.edu).

Accepted for publication: June 15, 2009.

Associate Editor: Mary P. Miles, Ph.D., FACSM.

Research Board Summary: Prolonged intense exercise causes immunosuppression, whereas moderate-intensity exercise improves immune function and potentially reduces risk and severity of respiratory viral infections.

©2009 The American College of Sports Medicine