In order to stay as healthy as possible, it is necessary to minimize your exposure to high levels of air pollution.
During aerobic activity, people tend to inhale more deeply and forcefully. Also, some people have a habit of breathing through their mouth which causes polluted air full of particles not only to travel through the nostrils and pharynx, but also the mouth area. As a consequence, health problems associated with air pollution increase, such as damage to airways, asthma, eye irritation, headaches, heart conditions, etc.
However, exercise continues to be key to having a healthy lifestyle, which is why the Mayo Clinic recommends taking measures that mitigate the effects of pollution without abandoning exercise completely. Some studies have shown that the long-term benefits of regular exercise outweigh the risks related to exposure to air pollution. So:
- Get informed on pollution levels: Most cities have organizations that implement warning systems to measure air quality. There are also websites that provide this information at a global level in real time. With this information on hand, it is easier to decide what days and what times it is best to go outside.
- Vary your routine with indoor exercises: Indoor dance classes, gyms, or covered courts are an option to stop exposing your lungs to air pollution every day.
- Reduce the intensity: When there is an air quality warning, reducing the duration of exercise is recommended, as well as exercising in the morning, since pollution worsens around midday or in the afternoon during rush hour.
Also read: An asthma-free airway