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Air pollution cuts exercise gains in elders -Scientists

Air pollution cuts exercise gains in elders -Scientists

The results suggest that poor air quality can cancel out exercise benefits and demonstrate the health impacts of even short-term exposure to air pollution.

Interestingly, the study found that the volunteers with heart disease who were being treated with medication were less negatively affected by the pollution. The study found no conclusive effect on babies health by noise pollution. Not surprisingly, the Oxford Street setting had significantly higher levels of both, including greater amounts of black carbon, nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter. Average day and night-time road traffic noise levels were also estimated.

The researchers from Imperial College London and Duke University in the United States of America recruited 119 people for the study who were either healthy, had stable heart disease, or stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - a type of lung disease. "We need to reduce pollution so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of physical activity in any urban environment".

"Exercise is crucial in reducing the risk of a heart attack or stroke, but it seems unsafe levels of air pollution could be erasing these benefits in older adults".

The project was again led by researchers from Imperial College London alongside Duke University.

In the sphere of attention of researchers included 119 people over the age of 60 years, 40 of which were healthy, 40 had stable lung disorder or COPD, while 39 stable coronary artery disease.

In comparison, when they walked in Hyde Park "all participants, irrespective of their disease status..."

However, that doesn't mean Londoners should suddenly give up all exercise, as the study only applies to outdoor exercise in busy, polluted areas.

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Brooke Havlik, communications director for the New York-based nonprofit organization WE ACT for Environmental Justice, said that far from improving the situation, the U.S.is going backward at a federal level when it comes to combatting air pollution. By contrast, lung capacity improved only slightly during the Oxford Street walk - and did not last.

Blood flow also increased after exercise, with decreases in blood pressure and an increase in heart rate.

The health impact of pollution was particularly marked in participants with COPD, who experienced a narrowing of the small airways-reporting more respiratory symptoms including cough, sputum production, shortness of breath, and wheeze-and increased arterial stiffness after walking in Oxford Street compared with Hyde Park.

This effect was drastically reduced when walking along Oxford Street, however, with a maximum change in arterial stiffness of just 4.6% for healthy volunteers, 16% for those with COPD and 8.6% for heart disease. That benefit disappeared - or even reversed itself - after walking on Oxford Street.

Scientists had said exposure to air pollution on city streets can counter the beneficial health effects of exercise in older adults.

"For many people, such as the elderly or those with chronic disease, the only exercise they very often can do is to walk", Chung said. "We suggest that, where possible, older adults walk in parks or other green spaces away from busy roads".

Simon Gillespie, chief executive at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Air pollution contributes to around 40,000 premature deaths in the United Kingdom every year, and the extent of its damage to our cardiovascular health is becoming clearer all of the time".