Is it safe to exercise outdoors when air pollution is high?

TIME.CO, Jakarta – In the middle of the height air pollution outdoor sporting activities such as running competitions are still widespread in urban areas. This became one of the talking points in the webinar that was held air quality data provider application in jakarta, Breath. The discussion raised the issue of the pollution peak in July which took place on Tuesday 8 August 2023.

Nafas CEO Piotr Jakubowski explained the risks of operating in a place with high air pollution. He referred to a Seoul National University (SNU) study that found that people aged 20 to 35 who exercised for 10 years in areas with PM2.5 levels above 26 had a higher risk of heart disease.

Launched by the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) website, PM2.5 or particulate matter consists of airborne particles smaller than or equal to 2.5 micrometres. PM2.5 is a pollutant that can increase due to hot air, fires and pollution. If inhaled, these particles can be harmful to health.

Meanwhile, data shows that the average air quality for South Tangerang, Bogor, Bandung, DKI Jakarta and Yogyakarta has consistently exceeded the PM2.5 limit over the past two months.

β€œIn 2022, there is a study by SNU which states that people who exercise regularly for ten years outdoors with PM2.5 above 26 have a 33% higher risk of developing heart disease than those who do not. they exercise at all,” he explained.

Piotr added that this does not mean that urban communities should stop exercising. According to him, exercise is still important, but it is recommended to pay attention to the surrounding conditions during exercise.

According to data collected by Nafas, the average time for running competitions is from 05:00 in the morning to 12:00 in the afternoon. In his presentation, PM2.5 level was shown in every running competition held in urban areas such as Jakarta, Depok and Bandung.

It emerged that of the four running events in three cities, only the one in Depok on July 16 had good air quality at the time of the race.


“But here we can see the July 9th running race from Cakung to Jakarta Garden City, it was found that the PM2.5 at that time could reach 100 at 8am,” he explained. “This is way over the line (from SNU).”

One interesting thing, according to him, is the Car Free Day (CFD) event that has been held every Sunday for years. In CFD, people can enjoy travel and sports without being bothered by motor vehicles. One hope of holding CFDs is to reduce pollution. However, Piotr has presented results that suggest otherwise.

“From the point of view of reducing pollution, it doesn’t really matter, because pollution on Sundays can also be high. And sometimes from June to July, the Sunday average during sports hours can be much above of the PM2.5 recommendation from the SNU study,” he said.

Tips for running in the midst of pollution
Piotr stressed: “The important thing to do before running is to always check the air quality in order to be able to adjust the running activities with the existing pollution.”

He also provided three main recommendations for urban people who want to exercise amid poor air quality.

Breath advises against exercising outdoors when pollution is high. However, if you continue to exercise, people are advised to consider the following, namely, find a time and place with low pollution, shorten the duration of the exercise, and wear an N95 mask or sports mask to reduce the pollution. exposure to PM2. 5 pollution.

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