Vinluan: Pollutants and exercise | SunStar

Vinluan: Pollutants and exercise

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Vinluan: Pollutants and exercise

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

RUNNING and walking is a good exercise for everyone; it is the most selected kind of individual exercise today, that young or old select for themselves for reasons of health or simply walking for errands etc. However, will the benefits of running and walking as an exercise be the same when you do it in polluted streets due to known pollutants?

Running or walking, are physical activities that impact the cardiovascular and respiratory system of the body benefitting it to function well, for a healthier cardio-respiratory system, however, findings in conducted research for individuals who exercise on polluted, traffic-laden streets in an attempt to get fit has a negligible benefit for health in terms of boosting heart and respiratory health.

That is because pollution prevents the cardio-respiratory benefits of physical activity during that time because walking open up the airways and blood vessels dilate and these effects can last for a few days. When physical activities are done in a polluted place, however, the effects are much smaller that we lost the benefits of exercise as we breathe in more; we also get more of the particles and gases into our lungs.

Based on researches, people whether healthy or with heart disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease should avoid from walking or jogging in polluted areas as the streets, it is then better to walk or jog in open spaces as the parks or in natural trails, hills etc. where pollution is at its least.

Physical activities or exercise done in least polluted areas also improves lung capacity and function as well as reduce stiffness of the arteries which is otherwise a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Encouraging people to exercise could in turn reduce pollution levels.

Although policies aimed to reduce pollution are highlighted, it is always important to remember the role of walking, running, or cycling can play an important role in reducing pollution by diminishing motorized transport from the streets.

Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on December 14, 2017.

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