Air pollution can make exercisers to run slower, breath harder and get middling workout, according to a study.
The study, led by George Thurston, a professor of environmental health science at NYU School of Medicine, also said that pollution even negates the positive effect exercise has on your lungs, reports CBS News.
"Usually when you exercise your lung function improves. But as ozone levels rose, we saw that benefit shrink to the point where there was no improvement in lung capacity. In short, the benefits of exercising are absolutely diminished by ozone on high-pollution days," said Thurston.
Research shows that when you exercise outdoors, your lungs are taking in car exhaust, soot, construction dust and factory fumes.
Breathing in ozone - basically smog - can irritate the throat and respiratory tract as well as inflame the lining of the lungs, and inhaling particulate matter and carbon monoxide is associated with the hardening of the lungs.
But even if you don't run or ride a bike, there are other environmental hazards, like untreated sewage in oceans, rivers and lakes as well as pesticides and fertilizer on golf courses.
Fitness Magazine has laid out a few tips on how to minimize your exposure:
Golfers should check in and avoid the course 24 hours after a dusting of fertilizer or pesticides. During the game, wear gloves.
Swimmers should check with EPA beach advisories, and skip a swim if an advisory has been issued - or if it has rained heavily in the last 24 hours, when the likelihood of sewage overflow and storm runoff - which could have pesticide residue - is higher.
Joggers, bikers or hikers should sign up for emails from the EPA's about air quality, and on days when air quality is poor, work out early in morning or evening when ozone levels are at their lowest.
The study has been published in the latest issue of Fitness Magazine.