Biking is certainly a very healthy activity and is considered an excellent exercise. But what happens when you bike in an air thick with traffic pollution? A research at University of British Columbia has now provided a surprising answer to that question.
Conventionally, most doctors and researchers have held that biking in polluted air can be detrimental to a human body. To substantiate this theory, University of British Columbia researchers recently brought in healthy volunteers to take part in a lab test.
The lab test involved wearing face masks and breathing in either clean air or air polluted with diesel exhaust. In each case, the volunteers were asked to pedal on a stationary bicycle and their body vitals were recorded by the researchers in real time.
The results were very unusual. When breathing in polluted air and pedaling at low intensity, the bodies of the volunteers registered a reaction to the diesel exhaust. But when the same volunteers, breathing in polluted air, pedaled at high intensity, the body’s reaction to the impure air was barley perceptible.
According to the lead scientists of the study, Michael Koehle, “We were expecting to find more effects from the pollution and bigger effects in high intensity pollution than in low intensity pollution.” But the obtained results were the opposite. While the scientists are still trying to figure out why this is so, one possible explanation is that during intense work-out, the rate of oxygen intake is so rapid and such a large volume of air is breathed in that the impurities are simply ignored by the body.
Nonetheless, biking in polluted air still is still harmful in the long-run. Being exposed to a polluted environment on a regular basis can lead to different forms of cancer as well as many other diseases. So it is always advisable to bike at a significant distances from the traffic rush.
Courtesy: Pop Sci