Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Aging; Exercise for older people; Exercise--Physiological aspects;


The purpose of this study was to search for relationships between lifestyle factors and the number of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) suffered per year in older runners. A cover letter and questionnaire were mailed to 1400 members of the Combelt Running Club. It questioned subjects about life-style factors like: (a) education, (b) occupation, (c) race, (d) activity, (e) cold episodes, (f) vitamin/mineral supplements, (g) stress, (h) diet, (i) smoking, (j) alcohol, (k) weight, (1) height, (m) caffeine, and (n) self-remedy for a cold. One hundred and thirty subjects aged 50 years of age and older participated in this study. The mean number of colds reported in an average year was 1.4, with a range of 0 to 6. Ninety-five percent of the subjects were of Caucasian race, 68% of the respondents were male, 98% believed themselves to be in "excellent" or "good" health, and alcohol and nicotine use was low. Over half of the subjects selected some form of aerobic activity as their exercise method of choice, generally running. Subjects exercising with the most frequency were found to incur more cold episodes than those exercising at lower frequencies. Heavy caffeine users were found to be affected with more (URTls) than individuals who reportedly used less quantities. Psychological factors are believed to play a significant role in the development of URTis. Subjects who perceived themselves to have the lowest level of stress reported an average of one cold per year in contrast to individuals who reported higher stress levels and an average of 1.5 colds per year. Subjects also perceived themselves to be healthier than their peers (98% ), more activity than their peers, and they believed themselves to recover from an illness quicker than their peers (74%). The majority took vitamin/mineral supplements, averaged 5-7 hours of sleep per night and followed a fiber or sodium modified diet with fat or cholesterol restrictions incorporated.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Sue A. Joslyn

Second Advisor

Dennis C. Cryer

Third Advisor

Tom M. Davis


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Date Original


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