We’ve always loved running in the cool, fall air and find exercising outside at that time of the year to be invigorating and refreshing…And as much as we love the summertime, we admit that there are some extremely hot days where you have to find the optimal time to exercise outdoors so you don’t risk feeling faint, dehydrated, or like you want to collapse when you’re done. Luckily, the good news is that as long as you bring a chilled water bottle or a sports drink (you only need a sports drink if you’re exercising intensely for an hour or more) to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes and run early in the morning when it is cooler, working out in the summer time can be a great form of exercise. However, there is another factor to consider aside from the heat…smog.
The heat spells across the country, along with high humidity levels make the air particles extremely dense and idle, and this makes it easy for dust, car exhaust, and a vast array of other pollutants to get trapped in the air. When these contaminants settle in the air, the sunlight that passes through reacts with them, producing ozone, or the building block of smog. So if you decide to run on very hot and humid days, there are high chances your lungs are being clogged with the smog! Eeks! And matters are worse if you have asthma or other respiratory conditions as smog makes it more likely that you’ll get asthma attacks. And if you don’t have asthma, it’s more likely that you’ll develop it or pulmonary diseases. When we found out about this, we started to think twice about exercising in extreme heat.
If you’re not sure whether the outdoor air quality is clean enough to exercise in, watch out for symptoms similar to an asthma attack, including heavy wheezing, tightness in the chest, irritation in the nose, throat, and lungs, and redness or inflammation of the air passage.
Do you want to know what the air quality is where you live? Check out accuweather.com, where you can access the daily air assessment for aches & pains, allergies, respiratory health, and cardiac health. This way, you can devise a back-up exercise plan for smog days and use it if you’re unable to exercise efficiently given the current weather advisories. For us, we go to the gym and bike and use the treadmill on these days. For some people, they take Zumba or Spin classes. You can beat the heat and thwart “the smog clog!” And don’t worry, there’s always some way that you can safely exercise despite the smog!
What do you do on smog days ?