Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether exercise training affects the severity and duration of a rhinovirus-caused upper respiratory illness (URI).
Methods: Subjects who were rhinovirus 16 (RV 16) antibody-free completed a graded exercise test. Thirty-four individuals (ages 18-29 yr) of moderate fitness (32 mL.kg-1.min-1 to 60 mL.kg-1.min-1) were randomly assigned to the exercise group (EX) while 16 additional individuals of similar age and fitness served as a nonexercise (NEX) control group. All EX and NEX subjects were inoculated with RV 16 on 2 consecutive days. EX subjects completed 40 min of supervised exercise every other day at 70% of heart rate (HR) reserve for a 10-d period. Every 12 h, all subjects completed a 13-item symptom severity checklist and a physical activity log. Used facial tissues were collected and weighed (symptom severity measure) during these same reporting periods.
Results: A two group by nine measure (2 x 9) repeated measures ANOVA procedure showed no difference in symptom questionnaire mean scores and the mucous weights of the EX and NEX groups for days 2-10 of the experiment. A two measure by five measure (2 x 5) repeated measures ANOVA procedure indicated no differences between the pre- and post-exercise questionnaire means for the five sessions that EX subjects exercised. Statistical significance was set at P < 0.05.
Conclusion: These results suggest that moderate exercise training during a rhinovirus-caused URI under the conditions of this study design do not alter the severity and duration of the illness.