Running in Polluted Air Is a Two-edged Sword

Physical Exercise in Low Air Pollution Areas Is Cardioprotective But Detrimental for the Heart in High Air Pollution Areas

Thomas Münzel; Omar Hahad; Andreas Daiber


Eur Heart J. 2021;42(25):2498-2500. 

In This Article

What Helps us to Decide Whether we can do Exercise in a Polluted Area?

The decision to take part in outdoor exercise or not clearly depends on the assessment of external environmental exposures, especially in cities, where novel technologies may indeed bring great advancements. Sensors are becoming available nowadays to measure environmental exposures such as air pollution, noise, and temperature, and can be placed in various locations in a city to capture the variation in exposure levels within cities (for a review, see Nieuwenhuijsen[16]). Likewise, satellite data can now be used to forecast these exposure levels.[16] The use of new technologies including smartphones, other GPS devices, and small sensors can also improve personal assessment of exposure by obtaining information on the location and mobility of a person, the environmental exposure level, and PA levels.[17,18] Importantly, the combination of the assessment of personal air pollution concentrations and PA provides the opportunity to estimate the inhaled dose, which may be a better measure than area-specific exposure levels, helping to decide whether we can have our exercise without any side effects for our health (Graphical Abstract).