Should we exercise outside with questionable air quality?
I was planning on a couple of outdoor related activities yesterday
- Bike home from work
- Go outside for a run
BUT the air quality here in Wenatchee was unhealthy (as shown by the pics below)
So, I called my wife to come pick me up outside of our downtown studios. (Pic below)
How Often Do I Exercise Per Week?
Weather and wildfire smoke permitting, I usually bike commute to work on a daily basis. If you listen to my show, I mention riding on studded tires in the Winter months to keep me safe on icy roads.
I TRY to run 4 or 5 times a week. This is a very do-able goal - but it can be a challenge during wildfire season.
A good indicator of NOT running or doing anything strenuous is the standard, set by our local school districts, of 150 AQI (Air Qualtiy Index).
For me, when the AQI is between 101 and 149. I have to make a decision to run outside. Just by looking at the far away hills gives me a sense if I should run outside OR on a treadmill at the gym. IMPORTANT WARNING: Days upon days of running in over 100 AQI can become a long term issue for your lungs and heart according to the Marathon Handbook website.
Here are some tips, when running on the treadmill.
I bring along my heart rate monitor/paired with my Garmin GPS watch and use it during my time of running in place. The heart rate is important for me: If I’m going to take it easy that day for recovery purposes OR attempting a Tempo run.
- Keeping it easy for me, is keeping the run in the Zone 2 heart rate zone or lower << Zone 2 your heart rate is somewhere between 60-70% of your maximum heart rate >> The Zone 2 Heart Rate zone for me is 111-138 beats per minute.
- Doing a tempo workout usually consists of a 12 minute warm up, followed by 2 or 3 tempo runs of one mile each in the Zone 3 heart rate zone <<< roughly 70-80% of your heart rate max - For me, this is running 138-152 beats per minute>>> with a 90 second jog in between tempo runs . I conclude with cool down of jogging for 10-20 minutes and call it a day. A Tempo workout is a great way to increase your fitness while NOT digging too deep. Think of this kind of exercise as working out smarter, not harder. You’ll grow a stronger running/cycling engine by doing tempo runs/bike rides every week or two.
(Personal Disclaimer: I am not a certified exercise expert. Make sure you're in good health to attempt any sort of strenuous activity. Make an appointment with your personal physician to get their green light, then go get at it!)
Be good to your lungs and heart and head indoors when the air gets hazy during wildfire season.