“Further studies in areas with more severe air pollution are required to examine the applicability of our findings,” the researchers said in a journal news release. “Our study reinforces the importance of air pollution mitigation, such as to reduce the harmful effects of air pollution and maximize the beneficial effects of regular exercise.”
Several previous smaller studies conducted in the United States, Denmark and Hong Kong concluded that regular exercise, even in polluted areas, is beneficial.
“People should not be forced to choose between physical activity and air pollution,” Melody Ding and Mona Elbarbary, from the Sydney School of Public Health at the University of Sydney in Australia, wrote in an accompanying commentary.
“Both physical inactivity and air pollution have detrimental effects on health,” they noted. “Staying active should not be at the cost of compromised health from air pollution.”
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a guide to physical activity.
SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association Journal, news release, Aug. 16, 2021