We assume that exercise is good for us but this may not always be the case. Particularly if you live in an urban area.
A recent study has quantified the effects of air pollution versus the benefits of cycling. It turns out that in a number of cities such as Delhi in India or Zabol in Iran, cycling for just 30 minutes can start to damage your health. The good news is that only 1% of cities in the world have such high levels of air pollution that the benefits of exercise would be outweighed by the negatives of air pollution.
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What the research does not take into account, however, is the occasional spike in air pollution levels. In London for example, for a few days in January pollution levels rose sharply. During this particular period, it would only take 90 minutes of cycling to reach the break-even point.
While your fitness tracker does not have sensors that would allow you to monitor air pollution levels from the wrist, Garmin has stepped in with a solution. Its new Garmin Air app provides real-time air pollution and UV information from your nearest monitoring station. This includes more than 4,000 stations with air quality and 1,500 with UV throughout the United States, China, Taiwan and Japan.
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You watch face will show live monitoring of six key pollutants including: PM2.5, PM10, O3, SO2, NO2 and CO. The display will change from a smiling face when all is clear to a mask when you are in a highly polluted area, so you can tell at a glance if you are safe.
As shown in the picture above, you also get basic advice on whether its a good idea to go for that run and if you would be better off wearing a mask. The app works indoors as well.
The app works across a wide range of Garmin products and is available for free. More info can be found on the Garmin Connect IQ store.