For some of the stalwart runners who endure long-term training to focus on preparing for marathon running, there's some potentially bad news on the horizon: air pollution as a general problem is not confined to areas like Los Angeles and other "smog centers" of the world. More and more of this kind of particulate matter is entering all sizes of communities, and this can be a problem for some of the most health-conscious citizens who are affected by it in specific ways.
The Problem: Air Pollution and Localized Effects
If you've paid attention to the general way that local governments are looking at air pollution, you may have heard of "bad air days" as something they now report on for a community. The air quality in a particular region can vary quite a lot, depending on weather and other factors. Skilled professionals look at current data to identify days where the risk of breathing bad air is greater in a specific community. These bad air days are often publicized through various media, including television and newspapers, as well as the Internet. They provide a critical resource for the public, where anyone can be vulnerable to the effects of increased air pollution around them.
Runners and other outdoor enthusiasts have a specific problem with air pollution. According to medical professionals, runners and athletes who exert themselves in bad air environments can intake up to 10 to 20 times more air pollution on average than people who are sedentary in the same environments. This adds up to a cruel dilemma for runners, cyclists and others who regularly make use of public roadways to get their daily exercise. By working their bodies, and promoting such aspects as good cardio health, longevity for muscles, bones and joints, and overall body response, they may be allowing more particulate matter to get through the nasal lining and deeper into the lungs.
What to Do about Air Pollution
For many runners and those who take their workout sessions outdoors, a response to the general air pollution problem starts with paying attention to air quality reports. Planning a running or workout schedule around bad air days helps individuals avoid the worst pollution that their community has to offer.
In addition, many communities are putting emphasis on building designated green spaces, often in the form of public parks, where the population can run, walk, jog or exercise without breathing a whole lot of auto exhaust fumes. Some of the people doing research on the effects of air pollution encourage finding a spot that is at least several hundred yards from traffic to practice heavy exercise.
Another response to the problem is to run at night. Many fitness participants gearing up for a marathon in some of the world's smoggiest cities schedule their runs in the wee hours to avoid running into a haze of exhaust.
Your Exercise Schedule
Public information resources can help die-hard fitness enthusiasts to plan healthy schedules. Check out what's available at Fitday.com to track your marathon training progress, from anywhere in the world. Take a look at diet and nutrition tips, and much more about how to implement and keep up a great running or workout schedule.