Air pollution is considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Those at risk for heart disease should consider avoiding pollutants that occur during rush hour, a top heart association says.
Air Pollution Deaths
It’s estimated that more than 3 million deaths worldwide are caused by air pollution each year.
In fact, the European Society of Cardiology says that air pollution ranks ninth among modifiable disease risk factors, ahead of low physical activity, high-sodium diet, high cholesterol, and drug use.
Because vehicular exhaust is a key cause of air pollution, people with heart disease or those at high risk for it should avoid rush hour traffic.
The best time of day to workout is the early morning when rush hour pollutants are low. Finding locations that have limited car traffic can also help. Be warned though, early morning workouts do come with their own hazards including muggings and low light driving conditions, so always be cautious of your surroundings.
Recommendations For Working Out
Beyond morning workouts, here are some great recommendations to help reduce your exposure to pollution.
- Walk, cycle, or use public transportation
- Avoid streets with high traffic intensity, particularly during rush hour
- Exercise in parks and gardens
- Limit time spent outdoors during high-pollution periods
The report focuses on Europe, but here in the U.S., researchers at MIT estimate that air pollution causes 200,000 premature deaths each year, with traffic pollutants to blame for 53,000.
These common sense recommendations will help not only your heart, but also your lungs, by breathing cleaner, healthier air.