Air pollution is a topic we write much about. But so is appreciating nature and leaving the confines of walls to go outside.
However, except you live in some remote part of the world devoid of any modern facility at all and full of trees, you take in many of the poisonous gases released by various man made activities to the air especially when outside.
Notice the irony?
Well a new dtufy has answered this. Apparently, the health benefits of cycling and walking outweigh the harmful effects of air pollution.
Air pollution contributes to a great number of early deaths each year worldwide and we gulp in more of it when we exercise.
On the other hand, regular exercise reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and several cancers.
The University of Cambridge study showed that even in cities with high pollution levels, the benefits outweigh the risks.
The researchers used computer simulations to compare data on different kinds of physical activity and different levels of air pollution in locations around the world.
It found that for an average air pollution concentration in an urban area, the tipping point – when the risks begin to outweigh the benefits – comes after a huge seven hours of cycling or 16 hours of walking a day.
It is far beyond what most people would ever do.
“Even in Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in the world – with pollution levels 10 times those in London – people would need to cycle over five hours per week before the pollution risks outweigh the health benefits,” said Dr Marko Tainio, the lead author of the study.
He added: “We should remember, though, that a small minority of workers in the most polluted cities, such as bike messengers, may be exposed to levels of air pollution high enough to cancel out the health benefits of physical activity.”
The study, published in Preventive Medicine, said exercise was always beneficial.