Health Effects of Road Running
I was out this morning driving about and it gave me an idea for this blog post. I saw hundreds of Sunday runners. I was cringing at the amount of harm they are doing to their bodies, internal organs and general health. Now many of you will probably run, which is great, but reading this may give you a change of heart.
So when people run, they normally go out and have a nice roadside route. Normally these routes are main roads, in busy towns or villages because these are the roads people know; they will not get lost.
Roadside pollution was responsible for 9,400 premature deaths in London in 2010 alone. (source - *london.gov.uk)
Background to pollution and heavy metals:
There are numerous pollutants from traffic emissions including; Lead, Nitrogen Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Benzene, Carbon Monoxide and Sulphur Dioxide.
- Lead will attack your brain and nervous system and reduce attention span. It can also cause anemia, hypertension, renal impairment and general toxicity. The behavioral effects are irreversible.
- Sulphur Dioxide will attack and irritate the nose, lunges, and throat being very detrimental to your cardiovascular health
- Benzene will affect the blood, cause harmful effects on the bone marrow and cause a decrease in red blood cells leading to anemia.
- Carbon Monoxide will reduce the oxygen carried by hemoglobin around the body in red blood cells. Consequently, vital organs such as the heart and brain will not receive the sufficient amount of oxygen to work properly.
- Nitrogen Dioxide inflames the lining of the lungs, reducing immunity to lung infections causing a lot of immune effects like common cold, flu, bronchitis etc..
So therefore, I believe it is complete stupidity to run on the side of the road, when we are surrounded by fields, off-road cycle route and footpaths and of course not forgetting GYMS! Your strength training should obviously be prioritised over LISS cardio due to all the bad effects mentioned above but the hundreds more amazing benefits of lifting heavy weights. If you would like ti increase your aerobic capacity, a well-structured gym programme using the aerobic system will do just as much to your aerobic capacity if not more than a run, but will also include the benefits of weight lifting.
I was once taught that the difference between running on the inside of the path rather than the roadside path has a 30% opposed to 70% air pollution.
1. Dont do long distance cardio, but substitute if for well programmed weightlifting.
2. DO NOT run roadside
3. If you chose to run, use tracks, parks, fields well away from the traffic pollution.
4. Supplement selenium to counteract the effects of pollution and heavy metals.