Staying active has always carried benefits for your health, but it might even be able to undo negative health effects from living in an environment with air pollution, new research suggests.
Even if you live in a city with high numbers of air pollution, the benefits of being physically active can offset the damage of breathing in pollutants, according to a study from the University of Copenhagen and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
For the study, researchers looked at data from around 52,000 participants over a 13 year period. The participants detailed their physical activities including how they commuted to work (walking or biking) as well as what recreational/sports activities they undertook.
The researchers then compared the levels of NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) near the participants homes. NO2 is a gas that is produced as a result of burning of fossil fuels and is present in harmful pollutants leading to respiratory problems.
Of the participants who said they took part in sports activities, 22 percent showed a lower risk of dying during the 13-year period and participants who cycled regularly showed a 17 percent lower risk.
So if you’re a regular at the gym or love taking the stairs instead of the elevator you can breathe a little bit easier.