Outdoor Exercisers: Get Closer to Nature

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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Member Comments

I don't like walking/running on busy roads because people drive crazy!! I prefer the parks/paths/trail
s/neighborhoods anyway. Report
Very interested article. Report
I think about the traffic but not the air. Thanks. Report
That's kind of difficult to do sometimes. Report
Good article. Report
Never thought about it. I walk to work along a busy road. Maybe Iíll get a mask to filter the fumes. Thanks Report
I can remember when I stopped taking my baby on the sidewalks in her umstroller because I thought her face was on the same level as the car fumes. Report
I just felt like pointing out that on the start page there was one article saying "Surprising Danger of Running Outdoors" and another saying "Treadmill vs. Road, which is better? Are you cheating yourself using a treadmill?" Maybe I should stay away from walking altogether! Just kidding, of course. I think it is a personal choice that a person has to decide based on what works best for them. I personally have a weird sun allergy, and can't really go outside in direct sunlight. On cloudy days, sure, I might go for a walk. But usually I stay at home on my treadmill. Report
I stick to the off-road trails and paths - fortunate that here we have lots of them. Report
I have a road like that near me, I try not to walk on it very much it's stinky from car exhaust and loud from trucks. Report
It never ceases to amaze me how it takes a study to discover what society knew as the obvious. LOL Report
I have heard of this too there is a bandana you can get that is supposed to cut down on inhaled toxins (its for motorcyclists and made in England) I know the drugstore by my house used to carry it I should get one. Report
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). Report
Rather misleading heading. Exercising OUTSIDE isn't the problem. Exercising on a road or with poor air quality is. Report
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. Report


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.
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