Pollution Can Counteract Exercise Benefits, Study Suggests

Pollution Can Counteract Exercise Benefits, Study Suggests

The scientists tested 119 over-60s as they walked for two hours in central London.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan claims he is taking "tough measures" to combat air pollution in the capital, such as writing to BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen asking them to contribute to the fund set up to tackle the capital's air pollution crisis. Average day and night-time road traffic noise levels were also estimated.

After analyzing the data using statistical models, the researchers found that increases in traffic-related air pollutants-particularly PM2.5-were linked with 2%-6% increased odds of low birth weight and 1%-3% increased odds of being small for gestational age, even after road traffic noise was accounted for. The researchers found that for each 5 microgram per cubic meter increase in PM 2.5, the risk of low birth weight increased by 15 percent.

"These are issues that mean we really need to reduce pollution by controlling traffic".

The project was also supported by the UK Natural Environment Research Council, the Medical Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Department of Health.

Air pollution can hinder the effects of exercise in the body, a new British study suggests.

According to the study carried out by Imperial College London researchers, exposure to road traffic air pollution in London during pregnancy is linked to an increased risk of low-birth weight babies born at full term. Half walked on Oxford Street and the other half through a quiet section of nearby Hyde Park.

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Going for a brisk walk is one of the best ways for older people to exercise and stay healthy - unless your route takes you along Oxford Street that is.

Following a stroll in Hyde Park, volunteers' lung capacity improved significantly within the first hour and this improvement lasted for more than 24 hours in many cases.

Physical measurements taken before and after the walks revealed the effects activity had on each volunteer's cardiopulmonary health, including lung capacity, blood pressure, blood flow, and arterial stiffness.

This is the first study to document these negative effects on healthy people as well as those with pre-existing cardiorespiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or coronary heart disease.

This effect was reduced when walking along Oxford Street, the researchers added, with a maximum change in arterial stiffness of 4.6% for healthy volunteers, 16% for those with COPD and 8.6% for heart disease patients. Walks along Oxford Street yielded much smaller gains. Air pollution exposure has been related to growth in hospital recognitions and deaths from cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases and lung cancer.

Transient subjection to traffic exhaust in built up locations like New York City's Broadway or Chicago's Michigan Avenue can annul the positive outcomes of a two hour walk which would have benefitted the heart and lungs of these people. "We suggest that, where possible, older adults walk in parks or other green spaces away from busy roads".

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