Slow walkers and cyclists rejoice! You’ve been doing it right all along, at least according to a study released by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
It turns out that walking briskly/running and riding a bike too fast could well result in breathing too heavily and, as a result, sucking in too much pollution.
The study’s author, Alex Bigazzi, said in a press release, that “the faster you move, the harder you breathe and the more pollution you could potentially inhale, but you also are exposed to traffic for a shorter period of time.”
Notice that disclaimer at the end of the quote? He has a few more, such as age, weather, how close the participant is to carbon-dioxide-spewing cars in heavy traffic and whether you are going up or down hill.
So maybe being speedy isn’t so bad, right?
Well, Bigazzi concedes that most people exercise at what he calls minimum dose speeds (MDS) without pollution uppermost in their minds.
“The good news is, the MDS numbers align pretty closely with how fast most people actually travel,” said Bigazzi, a transportation expert who is employed in the university’s department of civil engineering.
Bigazzi based some of his conclusions on previous research he has done looking into the amount of toxic chemicals absorbed by cyclists riding on busy city streets.
But in case you are wondering, here are the speeds that Bigazzi recommends: walking at 1 to 3 mph and biking no faster than 12 mph for people between the ages of 20 and 60.
Going faster than that, the study warns, could double the exposure to air pollution.
Consider yourself warned.