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Air Quality Awareness Week—Runners Wanted

2009 April 28

About the author: Andrea Drinkard is Web Content Coordinator in EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation

I’m a runner. I wasn’t always a runner. But, after my first race this spring, I had to admit it. Running may have been an easy sport to pick up when the first marathon was run in Greece, but today there are many more considerations.

First, what shoes do I get? Are they light and supportive? Will they match my clothes? Sorry, I had to throw it in there.

Then you have to decide where to run. I love that I live so close to the city, but that also means I’m surrounded by busy roads and traffic. On my first run at my new house, I decided to just explore the neighborhood. After a mile, I noticed that it wasn’t as easy as it used to be.

Was I out of shape? Maybe it was just a bad day. After a couple more bad runs, it dawned on me. Maybe it was running next to a busy road.

Running near busy roads exposes you to higher levels of air pollutants. And breathing dirty air makes it harder to do just about everything. So, I made a few changes. I looked for routes that were in or near a park or on back roads. I even woke up earlier so I could beat the traffic.

But it’s not just busy roads that can affect air quality. Air pollution comes from many other sources. And it changes every day, so just like I check the weather, I started checking the Air Quality Index. For me, poor air quality days don’t mean skip the run, they just mean take it easy, slow the pace or cut the distance.

EPA uses a color-coded guide: green means the air quality is good, red means it’s unhealthy for everyone to breathe. You can check it on the Internet, sign up for daily emails, or check out your local weather report.

Cities across the country also have Air Quality Action Days. These days tell you when you should reduce your contribution to pollution. One of he easiest ways to do that is to leave the car at home. You can take public transportation or carpool.

Poor air quality can happen year-round, so no matter when you’re outside, check the AQI.

April 27 – May 1 is Air Quality Awareness Week.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

37 Responses leave one →
  1. amarendra padhi permalink
    April 28, 2009

    i always use public transport,and nearest distances, i go by walk. If we plan the works early and accordingly execute it helps a lot and can reduce the pollution to a great extent…regards……….A.Padhi.

  2. Amrita permalink
    June 29, 2009

    Hi !

    There are a number of different benefits which an individual can gain from running. There are some runners who run simply for the joy of running but there are others who run because they realize there are a great deal of benefits which can be gained from rigorous exercise such as running.

    Some of these benefits may include weight loss, improved cardiovascular health, improved bone health, improved mood and better coordination.

    With Regards
    Amrita

  3. Jessie permalink
    August 10, 2009

    I’ve never been a runner. In fact I’m more into crossfit combined with other HIT training styles. However, I recently took up trail running at night with friends wearing headlamps. I have to say, it’s an exhilirating way to burn fat and build lean muscle! Props to running!

    ~Jessie~

  4. Weight Loss Paul permalink
    September 18, 2010

    Me and my friend run 5 miles, we are fortunate enough, because we have a great space of wild forests just around the corner, so the air is always good. But I have a good tip for all of you who want to go running for weight loss. For a runner that’s after high quality air – it’s best to run right after rainfall or very early in the morning, before all the street traffic goes wild. Durring that time all the heavy substances and toxins are flushed down or naturally fall down over the night. The air is best after the storm, though as we all know :)

  5. Jaruso Motivation to Lose Weight Fast permalink
    October 4, 2010

    I was a runner in grade school but now I gained weight. I always look for the best way to loss weight that’s why I started running every week and make this my habit. I just need to motivate myself to do this and hopefully I will be rewarded with this effort. Just want to stay healthy like before.

  6. fil permalink
    October 22, 2010

    I take alot of supplements to hit the gym but I love running because it gets me out doors and i can just zone out and get a good workout

  7. Lucia permalink
    October 23, 2010

    The truth is, that there is a TON of information available, and there are a TON of different ways to produce the results you want, and to lose as much weight as you want. The key is to really understand why a diet or exercise routine works.

  8. Len permalink
    November 2, 2010

    I used to run a lot when I was young, and then when I got Older I used to rung for fitness. Use to run quite a long way, 3-4 Km but as i got older, i got more injuries. So now I don’t run at all. Got a bad knee.

    Regards Len

  9. alex permalink
    December 29, 2010

    I love to run almost everyday ,i live close to a park so the first thing i do in the mornings is to drink my cofee or tea after that I dress up with a t-shirt ,som Gym shorts and some atheletic shoes and i go for a 30 minutes run ,its vert healty but you have to be motivated.

  10. Fadi permalink
    December 30, 2010

    I love this article!It does promote health and fitness.

  11. Tom permalink
    February 14, 2011

    I run outside in the city and when I hit traffic times I can tell the extra pollutants but only in certain types of weather. Luckily I can hit my treadmill when it is bad outside. But I wonder, on the days when I can’t sense it, probably because of dry weather, is the pollution still there? Maybe I should stick more to the treadmill. : )

  12. smith permalink
    March 14, 2011

    great info, will try it sometimes

  13. http://www.laxativesforweightloss.com/ permalink
    May 27, 2011

    The great benefit of running is that it tones your cardio and keeps you in shape. If you have an overweight problem, I believe the best solution begins with running!

  14. http://yourbestweight.info permalink
    October 2, 2011

    Regular Running or even fast walks are very useful to be healthy and also to lose weight.

    I am lucky to have a dog that wants to have regular outside exercise and make me too have some regular walking and running

  15. http://www.doomovies.com permalink
    October 27, 2011

    I’ve never been a runner. In fact I’m more into crossfit combined with other HIT training styles

  16. http://howtoburnandlosefat.blogspot.com/ permalink
    November 7, 2011

    I’ve respiratory disorders, so whenever I used to run, I used to get these bouts of short breaths. I used to run in the evenings as I hate waking up early.

    One day, for a change, I decided to run early morning and surprisingly I realized that I didnt have any problems breathing. Initially I thought it was due to the level of pollutions being down in the morning but I believe there is something else also. Maybe, the prolonged rest helps you, I’m not sure though.

  17. http://howtoburnandlosefat.blogspot.com/ permalink
    November 7, 2011

    Also when running, I chose to take an uphill route as that really pushes you and strengthens and stretches other muscles.

  18. http://sony-nsx40gt1.blogspot.com/ permalink
    December 12, 2011

    good website thaks to share me!

  19. golf permalink
    December 13, 2011

    One day, for a change, I decided to run early morning and surprisingly I realized that I didnt have any problems breathing. Initially I thought it was due to the level of pollutions being down

  20. http://ajordancreations.com permalink
    December 13, 2011

    The great benefit of running is that it tones your cardio and keeps you in shape.

  21. howii.org permalink
    December 14, 2011

    I’ve never been a runner,The great benefit of running is that it tones your cardio and keeps you in shap

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    January 24, 2012

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    January 25, 2012

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    January 25, 2012

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    February 25, 2012

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    February 27, 2012

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  29. June 12, 2012

    For a runner that’s after high quality air – it’s best to run right after rainfall or very early in the morning, before all the street traffic goes wild. Durring that time all the heavy substances and toxins are flushed down or naturally fall down over the night.

  30. June 16, 2012

    Thank so much for a nice article. :)

  31. yode permalink
    August 26, 2012

    Ok Thank so much for a nice information. :)

  32. Marketing permalink
    October 10, 2012

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  33. bolafifa permalink
    February 28, 2013

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  34. fit strong permalink
    June 28, 2013

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  35. Weight Loss freak permalink
    September 29, 2013

    Hi,

    Awesome post but what about people who are overweight and cannot do the things you have outlined. We have to think about them as well.

    It would be nice if one could start a topic on about how to motivate obese people to try and follow a diet or weight loss program rather than the program itself. I personally feel the the battle is lost when people arent motivated.

    There are so many diet/weight loss programs out there to choose from that can really get overwhelming. My advice is to find a program that you think would be suitable and then stick to it. I did it and won that battle. Heres a short video which might help someone

  36. Gary Jones permalink
    December 31, 2013

    Great post showing how important it is to get off the street in order to run. I know it’s not always possible for everyone but we should bear in mind the damage that we do to our lungs when running in the street. Just for the record, Next year, Air Quality Awareness Week will be April 28 – May 2, 2014 .

  37. http://www.healthgeeknation.com permalink
    February 18, 2014

    Public transport is a good solution, but only for those inside the city limit

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