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Old 08-02-02, 07:29 AM   #1
Juha
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Excercise and pollution

A new study recently linked outdoor excercise and pollution with various "adverse cardiac outcomes". Read about it here:CNN health

Has anyone here been forced to take some preventive action regarding exercise and pollution? (The way I read it, this study concentrated on people with heart disease, but still...) Do you wear masks while riding? Avoid downtown areas? Don't commute by bike if smog is particularly bad?

--J

BTW: CNN also includes a box of "pollution health tips" apparently courtesy of the American Lung Association. ALL of these "tips" deal with avoiding polluted air, and NONE of them gives any directions as to how to reduce pollution.
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Old 08-02-02, 07:06 PM   #2
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Yes, air pollution is a problem, but lack of exercise is an even greater problem. I have never found a filter mask which permits aerobic breathing.

My compromise answer: 1) actively advocate stricter emissions standards; 2) select the time and place of your recreational cycling to minimize your exposure to air pollution (daybreak on weekends works for me); 3) when transportation cycling forces you to exercise in polluted air, ease off a bit on your speed and exercise intensity.
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Old 08-02-02, 09:34 PM   #3
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Originally posted by John E
My compromise answer: 1) actively advocate stricter emissions standards; 2) select the time and place of your recreational cycling to minimize your exposure to air pollution (daybreak on weekends works for me); 3) when transportation cycling forces you to exercise in polluted air, ease off a bit on your speed and exercise intensity.
4) Commute using as many back streets as possible (it's usually faster anyway because you avoid traffic lights).
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Old 08-02-02, 11:09 PM   #4
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excuse my ignorance, but...

aside from the fact that i'd be breathing more heavily, whats the difference between biking and driving with the wondows rolled down, in terms of exposure to pollution? i know some cars have "pollen filters" and the like, but i dont think they'd be all that useful, and what about windows down driving vs biking?

i imagine you're sucking smog no matter what mode of transportation you're using...unless you're walking to work in scuba gear. of course, i might be (probably am) wrong...

someone, fill me in.

-rob
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Old 08-02-02, 11:13 PM   #5
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Another way would be to pay attention to the EPA or environmental department of the state/country for air advisory messages. In Oregon, the Department of Environmental Quality (Oregon's state equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency) issues "air pollution advisories." These allow you to guage the degree of the pollution, and the amount of each pollutant, to see whether there is a problem that day. Oregon's DEQ, for instance, posts this information on their web site.

I don't think I'd not exercise in it unless it was a "red" condition day. DEQ actually asks that we curtail car driving and bike, take a bus, take the MAX (light rail) or walk on those advisory days. Since I'm pretty healthy, I'm not overly concerned about the pollution affecting me over the short term. I'm more concerned about long-term exposure to pollutants, especially diesel exhaust, as its very fine particle size allows the particle to be inhaled deeply into the lung's air sacs, and these particles are implicated in cancer causation. Our diet and obesity probably contribute more to heart disease than does air pollution, although that would be a factor.

But the more probably short-term problem is that air pollution, specifically carbon monoxide, would displace oxygen from the blood stream. Someone with a compromised circulatory system would then be at greater risk. If a person already had occluded coronary arteries, to the point where there is angina (heart pain) on exercise, then also placing a load of carbon monoxide into the blood's red blood cells could put him (or her, but more likely him) "over the edge" and precipitate a heart attack.

Studies at the University of Washington showed that drunk drivers, for instance, in the Seattle area who had been involved in car accidents had significant carbon monoxide loads in their blood. This was especially true of drivers who passed through tunnels or confined areas during rush hour. Who knows, maybe headaches from CO poisoning also contributes to "road rage."

John

Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 08-02-02 at 11:20 PM.
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Old 08-02-02, 11:15 PM   #6
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Originally posted by surreal
aside from the fact that i'd be breathing more heavily, whats the difference between biking and driving with the wondows rolled down, in terms of exposure to pollution? i know some cars have "pollen filters" and the like, but i dont think they'd be all that useful, and what about windows down driving vs biking?
Every statistic I've ever seen on the matter indicates that it's worse to be sitting inside a car than outside. My own experience tends to agree with that. On the rare occasion that I actually let one of my friends talk me into sharing a ride with them, I usually start to feel sick after just a few km inside a car.
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Old 08-02-02, 11:39 PM   #7
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chris,

i suspect you're right. whether driving or biking, i can certainly smell the pollution on particularly stank days. often, it makes me feel pretty, i dunno, sticky on the inside.

the wierd thing is, hills that are easy on pollution-safe days take the breath right out of me on "orange" or "red" (i dont know if they use a similar system down under, but those are the worst days in the usa) days. my gf refuses to bike with me on such days, b/c she's not in very good shape, and she cant do much at all on filthy days.

air pollution is no fun, but i sincerely doubt that a car will protect me from it...

-rob
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Old 08-03-02, 03:45 AM   #8
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Originally posted by surreal
the wierd thing is, hills that are easy on pollution-safe days take the breath right out of me on "orange" or "red" (i dont know if they use a similar system down under, but those are the worst days in the usa) days. my gf refuses to bike with me on such days, b/c she's not in very good shape, and she cant do much at all on filthy days.
Yes, I've noticed that too. On the really bad days around here (i.e. when there's a heap of bushfire smoke about) I simply refuse to ride, and this from someone who will quite willingly ride in hail!
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Old 08-03-02, 05:19 AM   #9
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i'd just like to point out that this study only has people who have had previous heart disease as their subjects - not to say that breathing pollution deeper into one's lungs isn't bad enough...
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Old 08-03-02, 07:55 AM   #10
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"When you visit American city,
you will find it awfully pretty.
But two things you must beware:
Don't drink the water
and don't breath the air.
Pollution, pollution.
Wear a gask mask and a veil.
You can breathe,
as long as you don't inhale."
- from Tom Lehrer's "Pollution" song
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Old 08-03-02, 09:26 AM   #11
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Somewhere there is, or perhaps will be someday, a study which says cysclists who clip thier fingernails straight across instead of with a curve either live longer or perhaps die younger than those who do he other. When the news publishes it we can either quit cycling and do what ever we wish with our clippers or decide to clip or not clip when the weather is good for cycling.

Or, maybe I'll just get on my bike and ride when I feel like it and stay off it and enjoy my indoor air polution when I don't feel like going outside.

Carl
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Old 08-03-02, 04:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by ViciousCycle
"... Pollution, pollution.
Wear a gask mask and a veil.
You can breathe,
as long as you don't inhale."
- from Tom Lehrer's "Pollution" song
Ah, a fellow Tom Lehrer fan (and obviously a gentleman of discriminating taste, where good satire is concerned).
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Old 08-03-02, 07:52 PM   #13
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Last summer, in Chicago, someone made up some dust masks that had the words "CARS STINK" written across them.
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Old 08-13-02, 05:38 PM   #14
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i try to carry a bottle of oxygen when i ride....asthma...it's a *****
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Old 08-13-02, 08:57 PM   #15
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Check the hourly ozone levels in the summertime. Almost always, they are quite low in the morning--very safe. Afternoons are a different story, but they also can be safe. But you can't tell with your nose, you have to check the actual levels (the web or phone may do the trick.)

If smog levels are unacceptable in the afternoon/evening, try riding in the morning (temps are better, too!) If you ride to work,
try using public transportation to take your bike home.

Your lungs will thank you!
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Old 08-13-02, 10:49 PM   #16
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(i dont know if they use a similar system down under, but those are the worst days in the usa)
I can't speak for Sydney or Melbourne but I have never heard of a smog alert being issued here, we don't even have a smog rating system like you describe.

The pollution in a car is not as obvious compared to a bike as cars are reasonably air tight (not totally) so it can keep out a fair percentage of the fumes.

Just sitting behind a bus/truck on a bike is almost unbearable, in a car I can wind up the windows.

If drivers could smell the pollution that cyclists smell then maybe they would reconsider their driving needs.

CHEERS.

Mark
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Old 08-14-02, 08:48 AM   #17
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That is an excellent observation. I rarely notice the smells of vehicles when I am driving. But I can almost always smell a vehicle, especially under acceleration when they overtake me, even single vehicles out in the country.
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Old 08-14-02, 10:41 AM   #18
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If it not the cars/trucks bellowing smell try those wonderful refineries. That is the price to pay for living in Gulf Coastal Texas. From time to time I ride from my apartment to the San Jacinto monument. (That is the birthplace of Texas). Well most of the ride I have petroplants on both sides of the rode. There are time I feel like I smoke a box of cigars, other times fine.

I just wish I had stopped this one guy I saw the other day. His jersey read " I don't know what is worse. Playing in the traffic or playing in the ozone"
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Old 08-14-02, 07:11 PM   #19
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Tonight, I am down for the count.

Can't tell if it's a severe case of ozone irritation or bronchitis. I'm leaning toward ozone, since I don't have the bodily weakness of a bronchial infection. And yet, tuesday was not a bad ozone day...

:confused:

I've taken as much cough syrup as I dare. When I figure out what hit me, I'm going to avoid it like the plague. If it's ozone, I'll just keep raising hell (and avoid it as much as I can.)

Could it be that after 40 years of ozone exposure I have become hypersensitive?


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Old 08-15-02, 09:16 AM   #20
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Well, a pleasant suprise: an infection!

At least it wasn't ozone, I can't stand the stuff.

:thumbup:
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