This text initially appeared on Time.com.

Easy although it might be, strolling is without doubt one of the greatest issues you are able to do on your physique. Analysis has proven that it could actually prolong your life and enhance your coronary heart well being, together with a bunch of different well being metrics.

A brand new research revealed within the Lancet, nevertheless, means that the place you stroll issues. Strolling alongside closely polluted streets, researchers discovered, may very well cancel out lots of the advantages related to strolling.

A workforce of researchers recruited 119 individuals over age 60. Of those, 40 have been wholesome; 40 had continual obstructive pulmonary illness (COPD), an inflammatory lung illness; and 39 had ischemic coronary heart illness, which is attributable to a narrowing of the arteries.

A number of the individuals have been instructed to stroll for 2 hours per day alongside London’s Oxford Road, a downtown thoroughfare closely trafficked by buses and vehicles, whereas the others spent the identical period of time strolling via a quiet a part of the town’s Hyde Park. Three to eight weeks later, the teams swapped routes. After every outing, researchers measured pollutant concentrations in every setting, together with plenty of well being markers within the members, together with lung capability, breathlessness, wheezing, coughing and arterial stiffness, which is said to hypertension.

After strolling via Hyde Park, the wholesome individuals noticed huge enhancements of their lung capability and arterial stiffness. However after strolling alongside Oxford Road—and inhaling plenty of airborne pollution—individuals noticed solely modest enhancements in lung capability and a worsening of arterial stiffness, suggesting that the air high quality nullified a lot of strolling’s well being advantages, in keeping with the paper.

MORE: Right here’s How Many Individuals Die from Air pollution Across the World

Individuals with COPD and people with coronary heart illness each skilled negligible enhancements in lung capability after strolling in both location. Nonetheless, individuals with COPD confirmed extra respiratory points—together with coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath—after strolling alongside Oxford Road, as properly extra arterial stiffness. Individuals with coronary heart illness additionally noticed extra extreme arterial stiffness after strolling via the city setting, until they have been taking cardiovascular medicine, which seem to supply some protecting advantages.

“It’s best to keep away from polluted areas for doing any type of train, particularly strolling,” explains lead researcher Kian Fan Chung, a professor of respiratory drugs at Imperial School London’s Nationwide Coronary heart and Lung Institute. “In London, now we have numerous open areas, inexperienced house, the place the quantity of air pollution goes to be lower than what it’s exterior the park. If that’s not accessible, individuals ought to most likely train indoors.”

With out a sedentary management group, the researchers observe, it’s not attainable to say that strolling was immediately liable for the bodily modifications noticed within the research. However the outcomes recommend that the place you train issues, maybe as a lot because the exercise itself.

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