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UW-Madison study tests if meditation or exercise can ward off colds/flu

Who needs flu vaccine when you exercise your risk away - or maybe even meditate?

University of Wisconsin-Madison is studying 150 residents to see if exercise and meditation can ward off colds and the flu.

It's well-known that meditation can reduce stress, and prevent certain chronic diseases.

But Dr. Bruce Barrett says the new study hopes to find out if meditation or exercise can help the immune system keep respiratory infections away.

The study began last month. The participants are taking weekly classes for about two months on the proper ways to meditate and exercise.

Most are doing about 45 minutes of one or the other each day until May.

About a third of the group is not doing either activity.

They're all getting seasonal flu shots and blood tests, and they'll receive nasal swabs if they contract a cold or the flu.

Scientists will use the tests and swabs to identify the viruses, and see if the exercise or meditation affects the way the immune system responds to their flu shots.

The study is funded by a $1.2 million federal grant.