Running in polluted air

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original Blogs.

Just one topic this week. The reason will be more clear if you read Thursday’s blog post.

This is a very interesting question, though. I think we’ve beaten the "running is good for you" topic to death recently.

But what about in pollution? This is a question I’ve wondered about frequently. I’ve always felt that running in pollution is probably better than not running at all and what limited research has been available has mostly confirmed that. However, there has been a lack of long term research on this topic.

Well, Alex Hutchinson found a study that covered this topic.

The result?

There were a few hints of possible interactions. For example, people who cycled or gardened were 45 percent less likely to die from respiratory diseases during the study than non-exercisers if they lived in low- or moderate-pollution areas, but only 23 percent (for cycling) or 19 percent (for gardening) less likely in high-pollution areas.

Common sense of course says breathing polluted air is bad for you and that’s clear in these results. That means, as much as possible, it is wise to avoid the most polluted areas. Try to stay away from busy highways when running and things like that. However, more importantly, exercise is better than none regardless of the air you’re breathing.

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