Running has many health benefits, including helping to lower your risk for high blood pressure and stroke. But exercising in areas with high air pollution can have negative effects on your health, such as increased risk of heart attack or stroke, according to the Mayo Clinic.
So what happens if you’re one of the 91 percent of people who, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), lives in an area that does not meet the WHO air quality guidelines?
A new study, published in Circulation, found that regular exercise, even in areas of high air pollution, can help reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure. Researchers looked at the health of over 140,000 people living in Taiwan without high blood pressure, and their self-reported exercise data measured in metabolic equivalents (METs), or the energy cost of an activity for an average of five years. They found that those who were most active had the lowest risk of developing high blood pressure.