I think most know if you are sitting on your deck or in back yard and you smell smoke from wildfires, it’s probably not the best time to do strenuous exercise. Of course, there are different levels of air quality that can help guide you on this. Below is a chart from the Govt BC site (https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/air/air-quality/aqhithey) stand as follows:
The AQHI is measured on a scale of 1 (low) to 10+ (very high). The AQHI index values are grouped into four categories that help you to easily and quickly identify your level of health risk:
|Low||1 – 3||Enjoy your usual outdoor activities.||Ideal air quality for outdoor activities.|
|Moderate||4 – 6||Consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you are experiencing symptoms.||No need to modify your usual outdoor activities unless you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.|
|High||7 – 10||Reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors. Children and the elderly should also take it easy.||Consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.|
|Very High||Above 10||Avoid strenuous activities outdoors. Children and the elderly should also avoid outdoor physical exertion.||Reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors, especially if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.|
Smoke contains carbon monoxide and pollutants that can cause a number of health issues. Particles from smoke are small and they can get deep into your lungs causing a number of health problems. The air quality, although certainly worse outside, can also impact indoor workouts, if your space doesn’t have a proper air filtration system. In this case it would be best to avoid cardio that makes you breath heavy, to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your lungs (which are already under stress from the smoke, whether you feel it or not).
However, this is a great time to adjust your workout regime and shock the body up into doing something different. It’s always good to venture into other areas of exercise other than your normal workout regime. It can actually benefit you to be faster, stronger or even more flexible for when you do go back to your normal exercise. So, if you tend to do mostly cardio, embrace this time to do something different as strength and or flexibility training. These are hugely beneficial to our health and can be overlooked many times. Strength and flexibility help us with everyday functional movements, like sitting down to standing, bending down to tie shoe laces, or reaching up to put or get items on a high shelf. They also do much more than that for us, as maintaining healthy bones, muscles and immune system, along with keeping our joints limber and providing a longer lasting calorie burn, depending on the exercises performed.
Don’t want to join a gym or buy equipment – no worries. There are many body weight strength and flexibility exercises, that can do the trick! For example – push-ups, lunges, squats, ab crunches….to a variety of flexibility exercises as touching your toes, reaching for the “sky”, head rolls, to many yoga type exercises, as a cat stretch or down ward. Plus, this could be the time you practice and perfect the habit of stretching to add to your normal exercise regime, that you don’t always do, but know you should.
There are many online videos that will show basic body weight and flexibility exercises, if not sure how to do. Or join virtual DEEM Health classes to be guided through a variety of these exercises, from the comfort of your home.
*If this article or any past articles leaves you with questions, the want to be a better you, the courage to take the first step to a happier you, than please contact me at: