Jamie Merrill’s recent article in the Independent concerning the toxic threat our Olympic athletes face when they compete in London 2012 is concerning. However, he also highlights how those of us who prefer to exercise in the outdoors can take steps to avoid the smog. During physical activity we will breathe more deeply which in turn allows more particles to bypass the nasal filters (our nose hairs). Those who are prone to asthma may find they get more coughs and colds. For those at risk (pre-existing lung conditions), there is information on air quality on the Defra website. As I write the current air pollution quality of the urban West Midlands is low.
In recent years exercising in the outdoors has become more accessible with; the 2005 Right to Roam Act giving walkers the right to access most areas of the countryside in England & Wales, promotion of Health Walks and recreational running groups and organisations such as British Military Fitness. The warmer climate makes this an attractive option but whilst getting fitter are we keeping healthy? Jamie Merrill’s guide to coping with the summer smog includes steering clear of our busy streets. How fortunate we are in Sutton Coldfield to have 2,400 acres of beautiful parkland to practice our healthy lifestyle. Trees in the park improve our air quality by reducing carbon dioxide and other potentially harmful gasses in the air. For those new to the Park there are maps available at the Visitors Centre. Why not use the summer months to explore this wonderful free facility we have on our door step?