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Article posted: 12/24/2012 6:00 AM

Your health: Exercise can boost immunity

To exercise or not?

Exercise can be a good way to fight off illness, but don't overdo it.

If you needed another reason to stay active, exercise is now receiving props for helping thwart illnesses, The Washington Post says.

According to December's Fitness magazine, the right type, length and intensity of activity can help you fight the common cold or flu.

"Moderate exercise helps boost immunity by increasing the movement of immune cells," said David Nieman, a professor of health and exercise science at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. But not all sweat sessions are created equal.

Long, intense workouts can leave you exhausted and compromise your immune system.

If you're already sick?

"Heavy exertion during an illness, particularly a fever or flu, can worsen and prolong your symptoms ... But a runny nose isn't a free pass to lounge in bed."

If you have a minor headache, minor cough, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing or a mildly sore throat, you're good to go. But more severe symptoms such as migraine, chest congestion, wheezing, body aches and fever are prohibitive.

And in any case, don't push to the point of being exhausted.

WW on the Go

Santa knows if you've been bad or good -- and, now, so does Weight Watchers, according to The Washington Post.

The diet program just introduced its members to Weight Watchers 360, a mobile app for iPhone and Android designed to be a constant companion.

Not only does it track food (with the help of a bar code scanner and a "Snap & Track" feature that lets you photograph a meal and assign a point value later), but it also focuses on your environment, says Catherine Ulrich, senior vice president of WeightWatchers.com.

A "Spaces" function considers where you are (home, traveling, etc.) and your options, and offers "Panic Moment" advice. "Routines" helps you commit to small steps (such as eating breakfast).

Add it all together, and that smartphone can connect you to long-term success.

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