New study suggests where you walk or run can wipe out the benefits of exercise

By on December 7, 2017


New study suggests where you walk or run can wipe out the benefits of exercise

New study suggests where you walk or run can wipe out the benefits of exercise

Something to consider if you’re planning to go for a jog around the city during your lunch-break. 

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A new study suggests that putting up with the gruelling run or long walk on the treadmill (where 10 minutes feels like an hour) might be more beneficial to your workout than if you were to step outside for some “fresh” air.

Researchers from Imperial College London found that the toxic air in built-up city centres prevents the positive effects on the lungs and heart which are usually gained from exercise.

The researchers asked 119 people, who were over the age of 60, to take a two-hour stroll through London’s Hyde Park and the polluted Oxford Street – arguably the city's most congested zone.

They found that after a stroll through the park, all participant's lung capacity improved within just one hour, and their arteries became 24 per cent less stiff.

On the other hand, an increase in blood flow that is usually associated with exercise, was virtually absent after their stroll through Oxford Street.

Although the participants weren’t particularly young, the study’s senior author, Professor Fan Chung, explained the pollution in the air applies to all age groups, and the findings act as a call for greater access to green spaces.

“These findings are important as for many people, such as the elderly or those with chronic disease, very often the only exercise they can do is to walk.

For people living in the inner city it may be difficult to find areas where they can go and walk, away from pollution. It shows that we can’t really tolerate the levels of air pollution that we currently find on our busy streets.”

It is estimated that pollution is linked to 3000 early deaths in Australia each year. It causes serious health problems for even more Australians each year, and for many people there is no "safe" level of exposure.

But while air pollution should be considered when choosing your run or walk route, there are countless physical and mental benefits to cardiovascular exercise, such as your heart health.

Professor Ian Colbeck, Professor of Environmental Science at the University of Essex, explained the benefits of walking or running compensate for harmful environmental factors.

“We know from other research that for the vast majority of the population the benefits of any physical activity far outweigh any harm caused by air pollution except for the most extreme air pollution concentrations. It’s important that people continue to exercise.”

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Game of Thrones workout by Bodyism’s James Duigan.



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