The researchers say the air pollution also reduces the amount of oxygen available to the heart during exercise and warn heart patients to avoid exercising in areas of heavy traffic.
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If you are planning your exercise sessions outdoors, be careful with the air pollution outside. In addition to temperature and humidity, air pollution can affect the person who is exercising, especially in densely populated areas where there will be more industries and traffic.
Different types of air pollutants that can affect the health of an exerciser:
Ozone: Ozone is an odorless and colorless gas formed from the mixture of sunlight, heat and various other chemicals, which are emitted from industry and automobiles. This ozone pollutant can cause eye irritation, nausea and breathing trouble.
Sulphur dioxide: This is a primary pollutant produced from burning coal which causes breathing problems.
Carbon monoxide: It is an odorless and colorless gas that is produced from automobile exhaust. This gas lowers the amount of oxygen in the blood, which in turn limits the oxygen amount to the working muscles.
Suspended air particles: Small air particles in the form of dust, smoke and vapor is produced from diesel exhausts. These particles can irritate the lungs of a person who is exercising and can lead to heart disease deaths.
Why the air quality is considered while exercising?
When you exercise outdoors, you are exposed to air pollutants. You breathe more rapidly and deeply while exercising and therefore, you take more air. Oxygen is required for your muscles to function. The point behind exercising is to improve the ability of body to deliver oxygen. When you exercise, your intake of oxygen increases by as much as ten times your level than when you are at rest.
Mostly, you breathe through your mouth, bypassing your filtering system of your nose. Air filtration is less with mouth breathing and more pollutants reach the lungs.
The immediate symptoms you can see when you breathe toxic pollutants include wheezing, coughing, chest pain and breathing difficulties. Long term exposure to air pollution causes lung diseases and heart diseases.
If you are exercising in moderate air pollution, you have to reduce the intensity of exercise. If there is severe pollution outdoors, exercising indoors is the best option. Avoid exercising during rush hours. Exercising in the early morning hours is the best option. Avoid congested streets as the pollution can be very high.
Reduce the amount spent in high polluted areas. Avoid exercising when there are high temperature, humidity and air pollution all the three at a time.
Exercising is beneficial, whether indoors or outdoors, but you should take necessary precautions while exercising outdoors in a air polluted environment.