Want to Cut Your Chances of Catching a Cold? Try These Tips

Fact: We catch as many colds in our lives–200–as there are cold viruses. Considering the average sneeze-fest lasts about a week, that means we spend five years of our lives slogging through the sniffles, according to the new book, Ah-Choo! The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold. Want to slice this stat by half or more? Hand washing aside, there are other simple steps you can take to banish bugs–and feel better faster if you’re coping with one, says author Jennifer Ackerman. Here, tips to help you and your family stay healthier this season.

Bust Some Moves

Cut your chances of catching a bug by working out. According to recent studies, people who exercised anywhere from 30-60 minutes a day reported fewer colds than folks who didn’t work out, and when they got sick, their colds were shorter, Ackerman writes. Though scientists still haven’t figured out why, it’s just one more reason to jump on the treadmill. One caveat: Don’t go overboard. Working out for more than 90 minutes can increase your risk of catching a cold since too much exertion may weaken immunity, says Ackerman.

Be a Social Butterfly

Talk about lip service: Chatting it up with a wide circle of chums could keep you from getting sick. That’s right, experts say people with a wide social network catch fewer colds than those who circulate among fewer folk, Ackerman writes. Though the reason isn’t clear, scientists say socializing with a variety of friends may reduce chronic stress, which is strongly associated with illness.

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