Walking in Polluted Air Can Do More Harm Than Good: Lancet Study
Walking in a polluted space would counter its benefits in the elderly, according to a study published in Lancet on Tuesday, 5 December. The study was carried out with participants with and without chronic cardiopulmonary diseases over the age of 60 by researchers at Duke University and Imperial College London.
The findings showed adverse effects of bad air quality even while walking at a normal pace.
We document the beneficial cardiorespiratory benefits of walking in healthy volunteers aged 60 years and older, an effect that is lost when walking in a polluted environment. Our results show that this similar phenomenon is happening in participants with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and ischaemic heart disease, although the cardiac medication taken by the ischaemic heart disease participants might be protecting them against the detrimental cardiovascular effects of air pollution.The study
The study concluded that healthy people as well as those with chronic cardiorespiratory problems should avoid walking in polluted environments. It will not only reduce the benefits of exercise, but might actually make it more harmful. Green spaces, away from traffic and construction sites, as far away from pollution as possible, are ideal spaces for outdoor exercise.
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(With inputs from The Lancet.)