SPOKANE, Wash.-- With the wildfires burning throughout the region, heavy smoke sitting in the air has led to air quality warnings advising young children, the elderly, and those with respiratory illness to take extra caution outdoors. What about healthy adults that exercise outdoors?
Dr. Bob Lutz with the Spokane Regional Health District said while each person is going to react differently to the air, the smoke so far in the Spokane area so far hasn't been heavy enough to give most healthy adults problems.
"If you're otherwise healthy, just use common sense and some caution," Lutz said. "If you start feeling short of breath, or you start coughing, those are warning signs that maybe your system is not accommodating the conditions. But for the general public, right now at our conditions, it's okay."
.@spokanehealth says healthy adults should listen to their bodies, but for the most part should still be ok to exercise outside.— Rob Harris (@KREMRob) August 8, 2017
An important thing to keep in mind: damage to your health relating to air quality is cumulative, meaning you should make decisions based on how long and how intense your physical activity is along with the air quality index (AQI). The Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency has a chart available that shows what's recommended for each range of AQI levels.
An important note to those exercising outdoors in poorer air quality: the "no pain, no gain" mantra does not apply. If you're finding your normal workouts more difficult, that's probably a sign you need to back off and head back indoors.
"The reality is, you may think you can do it, but you're probably adversely impacting your body at some level," Lutz said.
Still, be careful & listen to your body. Coughing, difficulty breathing are signs you're doing damage. "No pain no gain" does NOT apply here— Rob Harris (@KREMRob) August 8, 2017