Being a city dweller who prefers running outdoors, this instantly grabbed my attention. It's pretty obvious that city streets in mid-town probably aren't the best places to run or bike. And even the path that mingles between the West Side Highway and the Hudson River probably isn't the cleanest area either. But I've always assumed that the healthy act of running would offset the harmful effects that pollutants might have. I spend time walking through mid-town and that can't be worse than running along the water, right?
Well, turns out I've been wrong! I don't want to give away the entire article, but apparently while the air is cleaner than it was 30 years ago, it still has a long way to go and we are often breathing in soot, dust, aerosol and even metal while we're outdoors. Breathing heavily means we're breathing in more oxygen, and while this can be a good thing, it also means we're breathing in more of the nasty stuff than if we were just strolling down the sidewalk.
Studies have shown that bikers and runners who exercise in polluted conditions show signs of diminished performance. Over a long period of time, it can even lead to lung cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and more unpleasant health events that we're trying to prevent by exercising.
While this information does worry me a bit, it's not going to stop me from running outside. There are many benefits from being outdoors and as long as I stick to my morning routine and perhaps stay in on the hot summer days when we have air quality alerts, I think I'll be fine. Plus, I now have more incentive to make the trip uptown to Central Park to run!
The article gave provided these links to check local air quality before heading outside:
- The Oreck Air Quality Forecast app for iPhone and iPad
- Weather.com's air quality & pollution forecast
For the whole story by Katherine Bowers, pick up an issue before they're on to the next one, or read it here.
- How's the air where you live and play?
- Have you ever changed your plans because of bad air quality?
Last night's workout -
3x12 seated row
3x10 glute kickbacks
Today's workout -
5x800 repeats w/ 400m jogs between
3x10 lateral raise
lots of stretching