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Outdoor Exercisers: Get Closer to Nature

Fitness News Flash

-- By Nicole Nichols, Fitness Instructor & Health Educator
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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.

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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
Nicole was named "America's Top Personal Trainer to Watch" in 2011. A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, she loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Her DVDs "Total Body Sculpting" and "28 Day Boot Camp" (a best seller) are available online and in stores nationwide. Read Nicole's full bio and blog posts.

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Member Comments

  • 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
  • i have always wondered about this, i figured it couldn't be good for you. really glad i am most often a late night walker; usually only one or 2 cars pass. - 9/2/2009 1:38:36 AM
  • Living in Florida, I have to walk during hot, sticky days where the humidity used to make it difficult for me to breathe at all, inside or outside the house. When I walk to pick up my son from school, I used to walk by the highway because it was the fastest route, but during school-and-work-h
    our traffic, along with some construction that's been going on, with a dose of the humidity, I keep my nose tucked into my shirt just for easier breathing! I've since opted to leave a little bit earlier and taking some backroads in the neighborhood to get to the school, I still have to cross the highway, but at least I'm not next to it for my 20 minute walk! - 4/30/2009 4:17:49 PM
  • I have always thought that if I can smell the cars while walking, how much junk must I be breathing in when I am exerting myself. My walking partners and I stick to the urban - off road- hiking trails here in town. I occasionally walk surface streets, usually later in the evening and really early in the morning. Thank goodness for the airconditioned gym on 115 degree days. - 4/3/2009 6:11:31 PM
  • I have always thought this was true when I see people running near traffic. - 8/16/2008 1:56:05 AM
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