Know the air quality color code

During inversion season, it’s particularly important to understand the risks of outdoor air pollution, especially the risks associated with outdoor exercise.

When you perform outdoor exercise, you’re likely to inhale more air, and breathe more deeply into your lungs through your mouth, bypassing your nasal passages which normally filter some airborne pollution particles. Here are a few tips for protecting your health and lungs while exercising this winter:

  1. Pay attention to the Air Quality Index, and know the air quality color code.
  2. On green days, the air is safe for all groups and all levels of exertion. On yellow and orange days, sensitive groups such as children and those with respiratory diseases should avoid outdoor exercise. On red days, outdoor exercise is strongly discouraged for all groups.
  3. Avoid outdoor exercise when pollution levels are the highest, often midday or afternoon, as well as rush hour.
  4. If you wish to exercise outdoors, avoid outdoor smoking areas and urban environments less than 50 feet from a road.
  5. Consider taking a free fitness class in the area or doing a circuit workout at home. Many gyms and studios offer a free first class, and sites like Fitness Blender offer free exercise videos for all levels and time constraints.


For more information, check out the following websites:

Mayo Clinic

American Lung Association

Fitness Blender

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