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Exercise & Pollution

Exercise & Pollution
Exercise & Pollution

The problem with exercise & pollution, it’s a guess how harmful healthwise it is. Thanks to University of Cambridge research just concluded, we now have a good idea. The Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) and Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, the results support walking and cycling, even in polluted cities. Good news in a backhanded negative way. Many of us may have a chance of satisfying the basic paleolithic need for movement, by using the front and back ends of our work day….and maybe the lunch hour!

We know that regular physical activity reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and many cancers. Active travel such as walking or cycling is really an effective use of time, so long as it is not harmful. As the study points out, air pollution is still one of the leading environmental health risk factors. The health benefits of walking and cycling outweigh the negative effects of air pollution, even in cities with high levels, according to this study at my old University of Cambridge, England.

Exercise & Pollution!

This new evidence strengthens the case for supporting cycling even in polluted cities – an effort that in turn can help reduce vehicle emissions. The Cambridge study, published in Preventive Medicine, indicates that only 1% of cities are really too high, (No doubt Beijing qualifies!) but even New Delhi, that has ten times the pollution levels of London, only was discounted with more than 5 hours of cycling a week.

I am still a cynic! If one can spend time in a gym, and indoors…then any relative negatives of active travel are reduced. In my opinion, far better to have a handy home gym available, if one has to rise early. That short period of indoor pollution-free exercise is a must. If there is no time to travel to a gym…then for minimal investment purchase a spin bike (to allow HIIT), then a normal programmable bike, then an elliptical. Some weights and you are away.  My advice…caution on Exercise & Pollution.