How many times you felt like you should benefit of a nice run on a beautiful day, but the only available route was passing near busy roads filled with cars or even a power plant of some sort? Recent studies show that, in some situations, running or doing any kind of exercise in a polluted area can be even worse than not exercising at all. And while this might be used by some as a benefit of outweighing it’s still not a good enough excuse.

What Recent Studies Have Found?

A study performed in the United Kingdom gave some participants the benefit of jogging or taking a long run inside Hyde Park and then along a traffic-clogged street in London with the purpose of comparing the results. What researchers found when they compared the data stored by heart and lungs monitors, was in nobody’s benefit. The study concluded that, no matter of their previous disease or illness, the run in Hyde Park had a lot of benefit and showed a clear increase of lung function as well as a quite consistent drop in pulse wave velocity. The pulse wave velocity is a parameter used by physicians to measure the stiffness of the arteries and the study proved that the fresh air and serene surroundings of Hyde Park had a very positive impact on the benefit of general condition of the participants. If you are to take things a little further with the imagination, you might even say that they enjoyed the benefit of walking on air.

On the other hand, when being instructed to do the same exact exercise on Oxford Street, the benefit were gone and even worse it lead to a decrease in lung function and levels of oxygen in the body and, at the same time, the heart rate increased considerably, like it would while playing free spins to win real money, due to the toxic fumes emanated by all the cars passing by.

Image credit: Texas Rock Gym

Is it Better to Just Exercise at Home?

According to the above-mentioned study, if the area you are living or exercising in is heavily polluted, it might be a benefit for you to just skip exercises altogether or at least choose a moment of the day when you can enjoy the benefit of lighter traffic. Many people prefer to exercise at night simply because of the benefit that there are less people on the streets and in parks, but little did they know that they were also protecting themselves against pollution levels that might have had some very negative effects on their health, not at all a benefit.

Even though exercising at night might seem like a good solution, the truth is that most of the people don’t have a schedule that makes it a benefit for them to run at night. And even if they do, running and exercising at night increases your heart rate and blood pressure, things that do not benefit rest, making it a lot harder to fall asleep afterwards. What you can do in order to benefit of a great night sleep is try some natural herps destined to relax you.


In such conditions, the only viable alternative remains exercising at home. By setting up an air filter, even if you live in the most polluted area of the city, you will have the benefit of exercise while breathing clean air that won’t affect your health and performance during exercise. And, even if this method has its limitations like not being able to perform a varied range of exercises you can benefit of or the lack of wind to cool you down, it can be the perfect compromise if you still want to enjoy the benefits of running.

It’s a sad but true conclusion that researchers and regular people have reached but if we don’t take better care of the environment and continue polluting at massive scale, there’s no way in the world we’re going to be able to stay healthy and enjoy the benefit of cycling, running or any other exercise.