That healthy walk not so healthy in areas with higher air pollution


Do you enjoy taking long walks as a part of your fitness routine? Air pollution can wipe out all of those health benefits, according to a new report. 

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from Duke University and Imperial College London recently conducted an experiment, published in The Lancet journal, to determine how taking a stroll outside can can affect the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, particularly among older adults. 

To do so, they examined 119 individuals over the age of 60, who were either healthy, had stable coronary heart disease or had stable ischemic heart disease. They asked the volunteers to walk for two hours midday in one of two locations in London. One was a quieter area in Hyde Park, while the other was along a busier section of Oxford Street, where pollution usually exceeds the air quality limits set by the World Health Organization. 

After analyzing the results, they found those who paraded around Hyde Park saw significant lung capacity improvement within the first hour of exercise, which often lasted for more than 24 hours. 

>> Related: Satellite images show extent of air pollution worldwide

On the other hand, those on Oxford Street experienced a smaller increase, and their results did not last for the rest of the day.

Furthermore, they discovered walking in Hyde Park reduced arterial stiffness by more than 24 percent for both healthy and coronary heart disease patients. It decreased it by 19 percent for those with ischemic heart disease. 

Oxford Street walkers who were healthy only had a 4.6 percent drop, coronary heart disease subjects saw 16 percent dip and those with ischemic heart disease only experienced a 8.6 percent reduction. 

“Combined with evidence from other recent studies, our findings underscore that we can’t really tolerate the levels of air pollution that we currently find on our busy streets,” coauthor Fan Chung said in a statement

To combat the issue, researchers recommend officials create stricter air quality limits and implement better traffic-control measures, especially in largely populated locations.

They also suggest older adults walk in green spaces that are away from polluted or high-traffic areas. 

>> Related: 20,000 die each year in Tehran from air pollution: official

“For many people, such as the elderly or those with chronic disease, the only exercise they very often can do is to walk,” Chung said. “We need to reduce pollution so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of physical activity in any urban environment.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Self-proclaimed white nationalist banned from Seattle gym
Self-proclaimed white nationalist banned from Seattle gym

A self-proclaimed white nationalist was banned from a Fremont gym after the owners learned he is a leader in the alt-right community. The owners of Northwest Fitness Project say Greg Johnson is longer welcome there. “The trainer terminated his contract and we banned him from the gym,” said Kyle Davis, a co-owner of the gym. It's a move...
Several sinkholes open in Florida neighborhood, threaten homes
Several sinkholes open in Florida neighborhood, threaten homes

Several sinkholes opened in The Villages Thursday, threatening several homes, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said.  Four homes have been evacuated. Officials said the largest of the three holes is 35 feet deep and 18 feet wide.  One of the sinkholes that opened up is outside Frank Newman’s home. He said he heard strange...
Broward County Sheriff visits Parkland school shooting victim in hospital
Broward County Sheriff visits Parkland school shooting victim in hospital

The Broward County sheriff said he was honored to visit a young student who survived the Feb. 14 South Florida school shooting that's left a community reeling.  The Broward County Sheriff's Office published a photo of Sheriff Scott Israel holding the hand of Anthony Borges, 15, in his hospital room. "Fortunately, he is recovering...
Florida sheriff pushes for 'game changer' program to arm teachers
Florida sheriff pushes for 'game changer' program to arm teachers

Sheriff Grady Judd in Polk County, Florida, went on the news Saturday to talk about the so-called “Sentinel Program” as a possible legislative response to mass shootings like the one that happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last week, that left 17 dead. Judd called the program a “game changer&rdquo...
Ohio sheriff: I will offer free conceal, carry class to teachers
Ohio sheriff: I will offer free conceal, carry class to teachers

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said Sunday he will take steps to bolster local school safety by training those who work there. Jones posted to social media that his office will offer free conceal-and-carry classes to a limited number of teachers in Butler County. He also said training on how to react during school shootings would be provided....
More Stories