This article originally made an appearance on Time. com.

Simple though it may be, walking is among the best things you can do for your body. Research has demonstrated that it can extend your life plus improve your cardiovascular health, along with a host of other wellness metrics .

The new research published in the Lancet , however , suggests that to walk matters. Strolling along greatly polluted streets, researchers found, might actually cancel out many of the benefits associated with strolling.

A team associated with researchers recruited 119 people more than age 60. Of these, 40 had been healthy; 40 had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an inflamed lung disease; and 39 got ischemic heart disease, which is caused by a narrowing of the arteries.

Some people were instructed to walk for 2 hours per day along London’ ersus Oxford Street, a downtown thoroughfare heavily trafficked by buses plus cars, while the others spent a simlar amount of time walking through a quiet area of the city’ s Hyde Park. 3 to eight weeks later, the particular groups swapped routes. After every outing, researchers measured pollutant levels in each environment, along with an amount of health markers in the participants, which includes lung capacity, breathlessness, wheezing, hacking and coughing and arterial stiffness, which is associated with high blood pressure.

After strolling through Hyde Park, the healthful people saw big improvements within their lung capacity and arterial tightness. But after walking along Oxford Street— and breathing in a number of airborne pollutants— people saw only humble improvements in lung capacity as well as a worsening of arterial stiffness, recommending that the air quality nullified many of walking’ s health benefits, according to the paper.

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People with COPD and those with heart disease both skilled negligible improvements in lung capability after walking in either place. However , people with COPD showed a lot more respiratory issues— including coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath— right after walking along Oxford Street, too more arterial stiffness. People with heart problems also saw more severe arterial tightness after walking through the urban atmosphere, unless they were taking cardiovascular medicines, which appear to offer some defensive benefits.

“ You need to avoid polluted areas for performing any form of exercise, specifically strolling, ” explains lead researcher Kian Fan Chung, a professor associated with respiratory medicine at Imperial University London’ s National Heart plus Lung Institute. “ In London, we now have a lot of open spaces, green space , in which the amount of pollution is going to be less than what outside the park. If that’ h not available, people should probably workout indoors. ”

With no sedentary control group, the experts note, it’ s not possible to state that walking was directly accountable for the physical changes observed in the research. But the results suggest that where you workout matters, perhaps as much as the activity alone.

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