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Science & Technology

Pollution can outweigh benefits of exercise

By T.K. Randall
February 26, 2017 · Comment icon 10 comments

Some cities are barely worth cycling in at all. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 BriYYZ
In some of the world's most polluted cities, exercising outside can actually do more harm than good.
It might sound like common sense that cycling to work is a healthier option than driving, but in some cities there is so much air pollution that the benefits of exercise are negated within minutes.

According to a recent study, fifteen major cities around the world have reached the point where the benefits of cycling are outweighed by the effects of air pollution within a mere half an hour.

Allahabad in India and Zabol in Iran are two such cities, while Riyadh in Saudi Arabia is slightly better with a 45-minute limit. In Delhi and Xingtai this figure increases to around one hour.
The polluted air itself is particularly nasty, with evidence suggesting that it can lead to everything from infections and heart disease to various types of cancer.

The researchers however were keen to emphasize that the benefits of exercise were only outweighed by high pollution levels in the most extreme of cases and that this should not discourage people outside of these areas from cycling to work or engaging in other physical activities.

"The benefits of active travel outweighed the harm from air pollution in all but the most extreme air pollution concentrations," said air pollution management lecturer Audrey de Nazelle.

"It is not currently an issue for healthy adults in Europe in general."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (10)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by ChaosRose 7 years ago
Only in the most extreme cases.  Sans regulations...coming soon to a city near you. 
Comment icon #2 Posted by Farmer77 7 years ago
Damn environmental extremists can't jog on a treadmill inside like a civilized human? Sad ,fake news 
Comment icon #3 Posted by ChaosRose 7 years ago
LOL. Crazy fresh air-wanting extremists. 
Comment icon #4 Posted by glorybebe 7 years ago
I never understood this.  There are cars zooming past on a major road and people jogging on it.  Is it to be seen? "Look at me, look at me, I am out jogging". When I go hiking it is out of town where the air is free from a lot of pollutants.  Wecan't get away from all of them, but when you are breathing deeply from exercise, the last thing you need is to be pulling car exhaust so far into your lungs.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Eldorado 7 years ago
Ditto. Also don't understand how parents can surround a school every day with cars with engines running, spewing out filth, not 10 yards from where their children will soon be running about playing.
Comment icon #6 Posted by IBelieveWhatIWant 7 years ago
People should be able to exercise where ever they want. Unlike people who like to/want to jog everyday, you going hiking isn't an everyday thing. Don't see how you can expect people just go out of their way (10-20 minute drive) just to get some fresh air to breathe while exercising. If anything gas cars should be slowly outlawed or restricted once electric cars become widely available.
Comment icon #7 Posted by MissJatti 7 years ago
Me thinks this news are for people who have recently moved into these extra polluted cities. But for people who have lived in these cities for all their lives, they are use to it. Therefore exercising outside is better for them.
Comment icon #8 Posted by qxcontinuum 7 years ago
thank you. i always knew that those running on toronto's side walk every morning will die of lung cancer eventually. they inhale 3 times the quantity of traffic polutants than regular walkers. 
Comment icon #9 Posted by Silent Trinity 7 years ago
Kind of a gift to people who perhaps falls on the scale of "less than fit" on the human physical spectrum so they can pronounce proudly the reasons they choose not to exercise lol
Comment icon #10 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
Don't worry, in another few months someone will have done research claiming the exact opposite or that just being in the area and doing nothing strenuous is just as bad

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