The study divided 149 people into three groups: One performed mindful meditation, another group jogged regularly for eight weeks, while the third group did nothing.
The researchers then followed the health of the volunteers through the winter from September to May, although they didn’t check whether or not people carried on exercising or meditating after the eight-week period.
The participants were observed for cold and flu symptoms such as a runny nose, stuffiness, sneezing, and sore throat. Nasal wash samples were collected and analyzed three days after the symptoms began.
The study, found that meditators missed 76% fewer days of work from September through to May than those who did nothing. Those who had exercised missed 48 per cent fewer days during this period.
In addition, meditation can reduce the duration or severity of acute respiratory infections by up to 50%, and exercise by up to 40%.