We all are so much aware of the health benefits of walking. Plenty of studies prove that a daily brisk morning walk can help you live a healthier life. But now, a recent study denies it. It says, even a two-hour exposure to air pollution mainly in the form of traffic exhaust can wipe out the positive health benefits of walking on the lungs and hearts.
The report explains even short-term exposure to traffic exhaust can have negative effects on both healthy people, as well as those with pre-existing cardiorespiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or coronary disease. The study came into the scene when north India is facing a serious crisis due to rising levels of pollution.
This adds to the growing body of evidence showing the negative cardiovascular and respiratory impacts of even a short, two-hour exposure to motor traffic pollution,” said Junfeng “Jim” Zhang, Professor at Duke University in North Carolina, US.
Also, people who walked for two hours in a large city park which is away from direct exposure to street-side traffic fumes reduced arterial stiffness by more than 24 per cent in healthy and COPD volunteers and more than 19 per cent in heart disease patients.
However, those who got exposed to pollution experienced a maximum reduction of just 4.6 per cent in arterial stiffness, 16 per cent reduction in COPD and an 8.6 per cent reduction in heart disease.
For many people, such as the elderly or those with chronic disease, the only exercise they very often can do is to walk,” added Fan Chung, Professor at the Imperial College London.
The study, published in The Lancet, highlights the need for stricter air quality limits and better traffic-control measures in our cities as well as greater access to urban green spaces for people to exercise, the researchers said.