Physical activity and upper respiratory tract infections

Int J Sports Med. 2008 Feb;29(2):158-62. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-965806. Epub 2007 Nov 14.


We explored the relationship of current and lifetime physical activity (PA) with upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) symptomatology in 142 male volunteers aged 33 to 90. They participated in baseline and one-year follow-up examinations and fulfilled the log books for daily recording of URTI symptomatology during the whole year. PA was assessed by the Seven Day Recall PA Questionnaire and the Historical Leisure Activity Questionnaire. Number of URTI episodes per year and the number of days with URTI per year were significantly inversely associated with the follow-up 7-Day Recall Hard score (rho = - 0.21; p = 0.013 and rho = - 0.18; p = 0.032, respectively). In logistic regression model, after adjustment for age and anthropometric data, the subjects with high follow-up 7-Day Recall Hard score (dichotomised as high vs. low) had a lower probability of having at least 2 URTI episodes per year (OR = 0.38; CI = 0.18 - 0.78), lower probability of having at least 3 URTI episodes per year (OR = 0.42; CI = 0.20 - 0.87), and lower probability of having at least 15 days with URTI (OR = 0.36; CI = 0.15 - 0.88). URTI symptomatology was not related to cardiorespiratory fitness or any measures of the historical PA questionnaire. We conclude that in middle-aged and older men the symptomatology of URTI over long periods of time is inversely related to current but not to lifetime PA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Poland / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / physiopathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires