Fitness Articles

Outdoor Exercisers: Get Closer to Nature

Fitness News Flash

Exercising outdoors is the only way for some people. If this is your main mode of exercise, try to stay off of high-traffic roads. A recent study from the University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia) found that exercising too close to traffic can actually increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. When you exercise, you are breathing more heavily, and these deep inhales are bringing more toxins into the lungs.

Action Sparked
There’s nothing wrong with exercising outdoors. Try to stay off busy roads, exercise early in the morning (fumes are not as bad at this time), or even shun roads all together for a park or nature trail.

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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

Member Comments

  • I'd love to exercise outside, but I have asthma and allergies and feel like I'm on barrowed time as it is. I'm ok Mall Walking or going to a gym that has a good air conditioning system. I use to love the outdoors when I was a kid. Parents, brother,sister and their friends were always heavy smokers (white paint turned absolutely grey). - 11/8/2014 10:00:15 PM
  • Rather misleading heading. Exercising OUTSIDE isn't the problem. Exercising on a road or with poor air quality is. - 8/26/2014 11:33:54 PM
  • I live in a city but we do have things like subdivisions (purely residential and usually low traffic) and parks. I stick to those places most of the time! I do go shopping on foot which calls for walking along major streets BUT I'm not putting in the same effort or breathing as hard as I do back in the subdivisions or parks. - 8/26/2014 12:46:23 PM
  • Thanks for sharing. - 8/7/2014 6:58:39 AM
  • Wow, great tip to run by. I never would have thought about it. I will keep to bike trails as much as possible. I was thinking more traffic related accidents. Bears are not a problem in my neck of the woods. - 8/6/2014 12:09:25 PM
  • I live in the country and I thought this article was going to be about how to avoid bears ! lol - 6/24/2014 8:06:06 AM
  • Aww... feel bad for people who live in the city but like to exercise outdoors. - 1/10/2014 11:57:49 AM
  • I live in the city, unfortunately I exercise there too. - 5/17/2013 9:04:08 AM
  • I always wondered whether this might be true. Unfortunately, vegetable gardens in high traffic areas have the same problem. - 5/14/2013 5:45:12 AM
  • I'm glad I run out in the country where there is little traffic! Thank you for this article, as I have not thought about this previously! - 2/13/2011 10:03:13 AM
    Yes, trails all the way! :) - 2/13/2011 7:22:20 AM
  • I'm not sure this is news, really, considering stress is a major factor in cardiovascular health. Not to mention exhaust fumes, etc. I live in a rural area, so it's easy for me to get near nature, but not so easy for those who live in cities. Perhaps more green spaces? - 11/9/2010 8:52:42 AM
  • I haven't thought of this before. I will take this into consideration more and stay off those main roads. Thank you for this article! - 4/7/2010 12:52:47 PM
  • Much as I love to walk around my neighbourhood, smell their roses and admire their home renovation projects, as well as exchange greetings along the way, I decided that uneven surfaces, traffic emissions including noise, and occasional feelings of insecurity were all sound reasons for driving me back into the treadmill section of the gym. Not only that - sometimes I'd almost coast to a standstill to admire the awesome majesty of the mountain or some other vista and so I probably wasn't getting as efficient a workout as on a monitored piece of machinery. I can still stand in awe to watch the changing light and seasons having their effect on the mountain as part of my meditation and "gratitudes" - 11/3/2009 11:44:47 PM
    I never considered this before. Thanks, Nicole, for another great article. Luckily, I live in a small town where heavy traffic isn't a problem. When I'm outdoors, I stay off the main roads anyway, but that's because I've always had this fear of getting swiped by a careless driver. - 9/2/2009 10:59:46 AM

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