Walking in a smog – don’t do it

Smog in Beijing CBD

By 螺钉 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Early on in this blog I talked about how exercising can help you when you’re stressed. I’m pretty sure it was my third blog post; maybe, I’ll put a clickable link to that post here . So I have been exercising 5 times a week for at least half an hour (sometimes I go a little over if I have some extra time on my hands and I feel up to it).  Now even though I do exercise, I am lazy as all heck so the majority of my exercise consists of walking. I know I should probably jog and do other exercises to mix it up a bit, but like I said I’m lazy and it’s my life, leave me alone.

Anyway, I go for a lot of walks and I think it keeps me fit, granted I haven’t lost as much weight as I had hoped (that’s one of the main reasons I started this aside from the stress) and although I think I’m able to manage my stress better, it doesn’t go away completely. But it becomes more manageable, like whatever is stressing me out comes into a better perspective and I feel like I might actually be able to do something about it. So yes the exercise is working for me, but that’s not the point of this post as you’ve probably guessed from the title.

Anyway, I go for a lot of walks and I think it keeps me fit, granted I haven’t lost as much weight as I had hoped (that’s one of the main reasons I started this aside from the stress) and although I think I’m able to manage my stress better, it doesn’t go away completely. But it becomes more manageable, like whatever is stressing me out comes into a better perspective and I feel like I might actually be able to do something about it. So yes the exercise is working for me, but that’s not the point of this post as you’ve probably guessed from the title.

I currently live in the city of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and I think anyone who lives in a city will agree with me when I say one of the biggest problems you face when going outside is smog, not necessarily thick smog, but just the continuous fumes from vehicles. Walking outside in the fumes is not a good idea; any benefits that comes from walking outside, health or otherwise, are immediately cancelled out when fumes comes into the picture. One day I woke up and I saw smog so thick I couldn’t even see the KL twin towers aka the Petronas Towers outside my window; that never happens on a normal day. Apparently there had been a bad forest fire in Indonesia and the winds were bringing all the smoke to here, fun times all around.

So the haze (that’s what we call it here) was pretty bad, but life still goes on and you can’t let a little haze stop you. Luckily I was indoors for most of the day but when evening came and it was time to go for my walk I looked out the window (couldn’t see much) and debated whether I should go out or not. I decided to go out, bad decision. Ten minutes into the walk I knew this wasn’t a good idea, it was extremely hot and stuffy, my throat was starting to get sore and pretty soon I was coughing, not a lot but still. The next day when I woke up in the morning my throat was killing me and swallowing felt like hot razor blades were going down my throat. Needless to say, I did my exercises indoors that day.

Exercising is all well and good but you need to keep in mind the environment you are doing it in. If the place you are doing the exercises negate all the benefits then what’s the point? You wouldn’t go swimming in a pool filled with nuclear waste, right?

So when you do go exercise make sure it’s in a good environment; if you’re walking go to a place with greenery or at least a place where smoke is at a minimum. If you’re swimming go to a clean pool, if possible do most of your physical activities away from traffic not just because exercising in the middle of road filled with ongoing traffic will lead to injury and/or death but also because just being near a place with ongoing traffic for extended periods of time is bad for your health. So go ahead and exercise but try to find a place where the exercise is actually beneficial, not harmful.

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