Monkey Abroad

Videos and stories of the life abroad – food, culture, travel & work

(VIDEO) The Effects of Exercising in China’s Air Pollution


It’s no secret that China suffers from some of the worst air quality in the world, but how does abhorrent air quality affect people who work or exercise outdoors? I want to see if I can tell the difference between exercising on a clear day versus a day with an ‘unhealthy’ air quality index to compare how I feel.

For this video, I did 50 pull-ups, 100 push-ups and a one-mile run outdoors in ‘unhealthy’ levels of air pollution. Nothing too serious, but enough to get my blood pumping and my lungs breathing heavily so I could absorb plenty of those air particles.

No air pollution

Little to no air pollution

Air pollution

Air pollution

Result: the air pollution is visibly noticeable for this experiment, but I couldn’t tell the difference in the way I felt compared to exercising in clear weather. If you’re curious about the effects of working out outdoors in abhorrent air pollution, it’s safe to say that you won’t die. That said, I still try to keep my outdoor exposure to a minimum on smoggy days.

The only thing worse than smoggy air is a person who complains about it, especially when that person smokes cigarettes. If you want to live or travel in China, it’s just a fact of life that you’ll have to deal with pollution, even in relatively clean cities like Rizhao.

Broccoli: the pollution solution

A study done in China by the Journal of Cancer Prevention Research found that broccoli consumption can help our bodies cope with air pollution by eliminating ingested airborne pollutants at a faster rate. Think of broccoli as a human lung filter.

China’s cleanest & dirtiest cities

Considering a move to China but concerned about air quality? According to Greenpeace, the top cities in China for cleanest air quality in 2013 were:

  1. Haikou, Hainan Province
  2. Lhasa, Tibet Automonous Region
  3. Xiamen, Fujian Province
  4. Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province
  5. Fuzhou, Fujian Province
  6. Kunming, Yunnan Province
  7. Huizhou, Guangdong Province
  8. Zhuhai, Guangdong Province
  9. Shenzhen, Guangdong Province
  10. Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province

The top ten cities in China with the dirtiest air quality in 2013 were:

  1. Xingtai, Hebei Province
  2. Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province
  3. Baoding, Hebei Province
  4. Handan, Hebei Province
  5. Hengshui, Hebei Province
  6. Tangshan, Hebei Province
  7. Jinan, Shandong Province
  8. Langfang, Hebei Province
  9. Xi’an, Shaanxi Province
  10. Zhengzhou, Henan Province

Due to geographical disadvantages and poorly enforced emission laws, Hebei has seven of the top 10 most polluted cities. Let’s just hope those folks eat lots and lots of broccoli.

Author: Kevin Cook

I want to inspire you to pursue your own dream of traveling and/or living overseas!

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