High levels of air pollution in cities prevents runners from receiving cognitive benefits normally gained through exercise, according to a recent study. In other words, running regularly in urban areas may make us dumber. So, that explains it! Read about it here.
Actually, running in polluted air is something we need to take seriously. The American Lung Association warns that breathing polluted air can definitely harm your health
and even shorten your life. Athletes are especially susceptible to the dangers of air pollution due to the increased amount of air they breath in and out while running. Common sense advice on avoiding high levels of air pollution, especially on days when pollution levels are critical, includes the following:
- It is better to run earlier in the day when heat and pollution levels are at their lowest.
- Cut back on the intensity of your run. If in a race on a day with high pollution levels, make it an easy fun run instead of an all-out effort; there will be other days to try for that PR.
- Find some green space like a park for your runs. Side streets with less traffic are another alternative to busy roads, particularly during evening rush hour.
- Check the National Air Quality Summary at www.airnow.gov for the daily air quality in your area, especially in hot weather. An Air Quality Index (AQI) of 101-150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups; above 150 is considered unhealthy for everyone.
Finally, run inside on a treadmill or ride an exercise bike if conditions are especially bad.