Air pollution cuts exercise gains in elders -Scientists

08 Декабря, 2017, 01:17 | Author: Hope Soto
  • EnvironmentNewsTraffic pollution in London “putting unborn babies’ health at risk”Joe Mellor

Scientists from Imperial College London measured the health boosts that people aged over 60 received from brisk walks in different parts of London.

Two-thirds of the volunteers had been diagnosed with either heart disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), while the others were healthy (no pre-existing heart or lung condition).

The findings, published Tuesday in the journal The Lancet, suggest that short-term exposure to traffic pollution prevents the cardiorespiratory - heart and lung - benefits of physical activity during that time.

Participants were randomly assigned to spend two hours walking along the western end of London's Oxford Street, an area where traffic is restricted to diesel-powered buses and cabs; or through a traffic-free area of the city's Hyde Park.

"Exercise is crucial in reducing the risk of a heart attack or stroke, but it seems risky levels of air pollution could be erasing these benefits in older adults". "Our study suggests that we might advise these people to walk in green spaces, away from built-up areas and pollution from traffic". The pollution may cause diseases, allergies or death of humans; it may also cause harm to other living organisms such as animals and food crops, and may damage the natural or built environment. Data analysis was carried out at the MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health at Imperial College London and Kings College London, and the Rutgers School of Public Health in New Jersey.

Noise and pollution levels were significantly higher on Oxford Street, including increased levels of black carbon, nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter.

Volunteers who took a walk in Hyde Park experienced a decrease in the stiffness of their arteries, a benefit normally seen after exercise. By comparison, a walk up and down Oxford Street led to only a small increase in lung capacity in participants - far lower than recorded in the park.

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However, people who walked around the park benefited from increased blood flow and their arteries became less stiff by 24% in some cases, and the Oxford Streetwalkers were with just a 4.6% improvement for healthy participants.

Chung said that majority of elderly people who have persistent illness the only exercise they can do is to walk. When exercising it's best to avoid highly-polluted areas, swapping them for green spaces or even back streets where pollution is lower.

The researchers also note that stress from the increased noise and activity of Oxford Street may have had an effect on the study's results. They also emphasize that while the study only involved two relatively short walks, the findings suggest that repeated exposures to air pollution would not be beneficial to our respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

"The results from this large study add to a growing body of evidence on the association between air pollution from road traffic and its adverse impact on babies' health, even before they are born", Dr. Patrick O'Brien, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said in an emailed statement toWebMD.

Based on the available evidence, the authors say the findings could have implications for urban planning, including traffic control measures and access to green spaces in cities.

United Kingdom researchers explored the benefits of walking in people over the age of 60 and compared the impact on their health when they walked along polluted urban streets versus in the open spaces of a park. There may be a cost associated as they have to travel further away from where they live or work.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has pledged to make reducing air pollution one of his top priorities and announced a global network to tackle the issue while on a trip to Delhi this week.

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