A new study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine of 51 U.S. cities had some good news for many Americans. Life expectancy increased by an average of two years and eight months since the early 1980s. Research attribute about five months of that increase due to cleaner air in the 51 U.S. cities looked at in the study.
But for endurance athletes even small amounts of pollution can be very harmful.
Scientist like to point out that during heavy exercise like running, swimming, or cycling an endurance athlete's lungs will process up to 20 times the amount of air of a sedentary individual.
"These facts mean that when we exercise in polluted air,
we increase our contact with the pollutants, and increase our
vulnerability to health damage," according to the American Lung Association.
The America Lung Association provides a list of do's and don'ts for athletes in cities with high levels of pollution, and the include:
Do the following:
* Do train early in the day or in the evening.
* Do avoid midday or afternoon exercise, and avoid strenuous outdoor work, if possible, when ozone smog or other pollution levels are high.
* Do avoid congested streets and rush hour traffic; pollution levels can be high up to 50 feet from the roadway.
* Do make sure teachers, coaches and recreation officials know about air pollution and act accordingly.
* Most important, do be aware of the quality of the air you breathe!
Don't do the following:
* Don't take air pollution lightly, it can hurt all of us!
* Don't engage in strenuous outdoor activity when local officials issue health warnings.
The new study concludes that the city with the best air quality is Albuquerque, New Mexico with an average lifespan of 77 years for locals.
The city with some of the poorest air quality in the United States is Charleston, West Virginia. Residents in the East Coast city live for just about 75 years.
Finally, the city with the longest life span according according to this study is San Jose at 80 years, followed by San Francisco at 79 years.
For more info: For current information on local air quailty take a look at the U.S. governments AirNow web site.