According to the European Environment Agency, Poland ranks first among the European Union countries where air pollution is the highest. Long-term exposure to smog inhalation can have fatal health effects. Air quality tends to deteriorate in the fall and winter when the heating season begins. Does this mean you should give up outdoor training in these months?
Can I run when air quality standards are exceeded?
Running is one of the most popular outdoor activities. When you exercise, you breathe deeply and the toxic particles penetrate your lungs more easily. However, that doesn’t mean you should completely give up training and be active, explains Bowie Wojtan, MD, a pulmonologist with the Lux Med Group.
On days when dust standards are exceeded by 100 percent or more, it is not recommended to stay outdoors for long, let alone run or do outdoor sports. Certainly, however, you should not completely give up physical activity. However, we do have some alternatives, such as exercising at home or in the gym. However, if we are interested in outdoor sports, and the quality of this air is poor, then it is worth choosing places far from the source of emission, that is, single-family apartment complexes or highways. It can be, for example, a forest or another place where the concentration of dust is safe for health. It should also be remembered that the level of pollution on the main road, and the road 500 meters from it, may be very different – says Bauwe Voitan.
What are the symptoms of smog poisoning?
Smog is one of the most carcinogenic substances. It impairs the proper functioning of the respiratory system, reduces immunity, and thus makes the body more susceptible to infections. The first symptoms of smog poisoning may not be obvious:
How to protect yourself from smog?
It is worth remembering a few simple rules that will help reduce the risks of smog poisoning and reduce the amount of toxic substances inhaled.
- Outside, breathe through your nose, not your mouth, if possible.
- Play sports away from single-family areas or the most crowded streets.
- For training, choose the early morning and evening periods, when the concentration of harmful dust is minimal.
- Check the air quality (on the website of the main environmental protection body or in designated applications). If standards are severely exceeded, consider staying home.
- Remember to moisturize your body regularly and eat a balanced and healthy diet.
- If the air in your area is heavily polluted, consider wearing a smog mask
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