Air Quality and Exercise: Tips for Staying Active When The Air Quality is Poor

Utah Air Pollution

So what can you do when the smog starts settling in the valley?

Here are a few tips to consider while trying to stay active when the air quality isn’t green (but the air itself might be).

Understand the Air Quality Index

To avoid causing undue harm to your body make sure the air quality index is green. If it starts creeping into yellow, orange or red consider changing your exercise and outdoor work plans. Liz Joy, MD, a family practice and sports medicine at the Avenues Specialty Clinic in Salt Lake City, explained why we should Know the AQI and How to Use It in her blog earlier this year. This graphic gives some simple tips to help.

AQI-Infographic

Know Your Symptoms

If you’re having trouble breathing, or if you have a sore throat, chest pain, or chest tightness, your body is telling you it needs some help. Get to know your own responses to different air quality levels. Your body will tell you when you need to change your plans.

Get Professional Medical Advice

Particulate matter in the air causes the air quality to get worse. Your nose and airways are able to filter some of these particles, but extremely tiny particles can work their way into your blood and cause your blood vessels to narrow. This can cause serious health problems.

If you’re experiencing some of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor to see if you should be referred to a pulmonologist.