Running is a form of aerobic exercise. It strengthens the bones and muscles while improving cardiovascular fitness. But running in poor air quality can affect your health.
This is because low-intensity exercises such as jogging have a low risk of air pollution than high-intensity movements like running. In fact, when you run, you will inhale more air than when you are resting. Thus, you are likely to inhale air pollutants that can penetrate the respiratory and circulatory systems affecting the heart and lungs.
Because of this, you need to be mindful when running to lessen your exposure to pollutants in the air. In this article, you’ll get valuable information on how to avoid pollution while running. With this, you will live a quality life by improving your exercise and preventing health issues.
Here Is How to Avoid Pollution While Running
1. Avoid running during the rush hours
Rush hours can expose you to more air pollutants. Imagine the congestion that is found in the evening when everyone is coming out of work or school?
Congestion from vehicles produces harmful gases such as sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide, which can affect your health when inhaled.
But do you know that you can reduce your exposure to air pollutants by running before or after the rush hours? You can consider exercising early in the morning or late in the evening to keep off the high traffic in the city.
Besides, the weather tends to be hot during the day, and high temperatures can increase the pollution level. But early in the morning, the weather is calm, and the pollution levels are low.
2. Monitor the pollution levels before you start running
Monitoring the pollution level should be your number one procedure to perform before your start exercising. Monitoring will help you assess the level of pollution outside your home. So, how do you know when the air quality is poor?
Many media services give information about weather forecasts in different regions. Also, you can contact your local air pollution control agency to find out more about air quality in your area.
Apart from this, some apps and websites can keep you up to date with pollution levels in your local region.
Also read: Ways to measure air pollutants
3. Avoid the polluted areas
It is challenging to see air pollutants with naked eyes. But you can tell if a place has air pollutants by looking at the activities performed.
For instance, industries produce pollutants such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and lead.
In this case, you need to avoid sources such as:
- Urban areas
- Agricultural projects
- Construction sites
- Burning of garbage waste
- Areas with high traffic
- Industrial areas
Also read: What is the greenest way to travel
4. Wear a pollution mask
Running with a pollution mask can impact your performance. It can decrease airflow, making it difficult to breathe. Also, you can feel uncomfortable because of the accumulation of moisture in the mask.
But a pollution mask is vital, especially if you’re running on the streets or other sources of pollution such as the industries.
An air pollution mask is effective enough to protect you against air pollutants. Hence, when running on areas with high-risk exposure to airborne particles, it is advisable to wear a pollution mask.
Also read: How to wash pollution
But not all masks can protect you from pollution. In this case, it is good to choose one with N95 and N99 ratings to filter 99% pollutants. Also, consider a breathable mask to improve your outdoor exercises.
Nevertheless, it is advisable to exercise without a mask if you are running alone in your neighborhood. But it is good to be sure that you don’t cross the streets or come near the pollution sources.
FAQs on How to Protect Yourself from Pollution While Running
Is it safe to run outside?
Running outside is good for your health. But you are likely to get high levels of air pollution. So, does this mean that you should not exercise outside?
Exercising outside is essential since it increases vitamin D and improves your self-esteem. How about being exposed to air pollution?
The level of air pollution is high outside. But you can implement simple tips to help you run safely.
Here are 3 tips to protect yourself from pollution while running
1. Choose your routes carefully by avoiding the highly polluted areas
2. Check the current air quality
3. Wear a pollution mask where necessary
What time of the day is air quality the best?
People are likely to carry out most of their activities during the day. From spraying crops to burning garbage, going to work, and traveling using a vehicle can increase the number of air pollutants.
Besides, during the day, the temperatures tend to be high, which increases harmful pollutants in the atmosphere.
In other words, the air quality is poor during the day, and you are likely to experience the effects of air pollutants.
Thus, it would be best to consider running early in the morning and late in the evening when the air is cool. Also, during this time, there are no traffic and many activities going on.
How can you monitor the air quality?
The air quality can change at any time. For instance, the number of pollutants can increase after a neighbor burns containers with chemical wastes.
In this case, it is good to monitor air quality every time you plan to exercise.
If you want to get accurate readings on local air quality, you can consider an air quality monitor. This device detects the presence of pollutants in an indoor or outdoor environment.
Besides, you can use an air visual app to keep you updated with the current information about pollution levels in your area.
The air you breathe while running will determine your performance and overall health. For instance, when you run when the air quality is poor, you are likely to have issues with your respiratory system.
In this case, it is good to take safety precautions to avoid inhaling pollutants. If you implement tips on how to avoid pollution while running, you will improve your exercise performance and your overall health.