Walking in Polluted Air Can Do More Harm Than Good: Lancet Study
The findings showed adverse effects of bad air quality even while walking at a normal pace.
The findings showed adverse effects of bad air quality even while walking at a normal pace.(Photo: iStock)

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.

Also Read: Docs Say No, but These Marathon Runners Are Unfazed by Smog

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.

Patients with chronic cardiorespiratory disorders should be encouraged to use appropriate medication to mitigate the adverse effects of air pollution. Current ambient levels of air pollution along busy streets are unacceptable and need to be controlled.
The study

(Breathe In, Breathe Out: Are you finding it tough to breathe polluted air? Join hands with FIT to find #PollutionKaSolution. Send in your suggestions to fit@thequint.com or WhatsApp @ +919999008335)

(With inputs from The Lancet.)