AIR POLLUTION AND EXERCISE
Pollutants are substances in the environment which lower the environment's quality. Originally,
air pollutants were thought to be only by-products of the industrial
revolution. However, many pollutants are produced naturally. For
example, volcanoes emit sulfur oxides and ash, and lightning produces
There are two classifications of air pollutants - primary and secondary. Primary pollutants
are produced directly by industrial sources. These include carbon
monoxide (CO), sulfur oxides (SO), hydrocarbons, and particulate
(ash). Secondary pollutants are created by the primary pollutant's
interaction with the environment. Examples of these include ozone(O3),
aldehydes, and sulfates. Smog is a combination
of primary and secondary pollutants.
Some pollutants have negative effects on the body. For example, carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin
in the red blood cells and reduces the amount of oxygen carried
in the blood. Ozone and the oxides irritate the air passageways
in the lungs, while other pollutants irritate the eyes.
When exercisers in high-pollution areas breathe through the mouth, the nasal mucosa's ability to
remove impurities is bypassed, and many pollutants can be inhaled.
This irritates the respiratory tract and makes the person less
able to perform aerobically.
Pollutants can irritate the respiratory tract and make the person less able to perform aerobically.
The following are some ways to deal with air pollution while exercising:|
- Avoid exposure to pollutants before and during exercise, if possible.
- In areas of high ozone concentration, train early in the day and after dark.
- Avoid exercising near heavily traveled streets and highways during rush hours.