Magazine article Aging Today

A Street-Side Stroll Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Magazine article Aging Today

A Street-Side Stroll Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Article excerpt

Last December, scientists from Duke University and Imperial College London published a study showing that exposure to air pollution on busy city streets can counter the beneficial health effects of exercise in adults older than age 60.

Published in The Lancet, "Cardio-pulmonary Responses to Walking on a Traffic-Polluted Roadside in 'Over-60's' Healthy, Pulmonary and Cardiac Participants," is the first study to document such effects. Study co-author Junfeng Zhang, a professor of global and environmental health at Duke, reports that a short, twohour exposure to motor traffic pollution can have negative cardiovascular and respiratory impacts. But the study revealed that if people instead walked for two hours in a large city park, away from direct exposure to street-side traffic fumes, they experienced significant improvements in lung and vascular functions.

The study's 119 volunteers were older than age 60 and healthy, had stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or ischemic heart disease and either walked in a quiet part of London's Hyde Park or along a busy section of Oxford Street. …

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