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Could exercise protect lungs from air pollution?

Going for a jog on a warm spring day might be the ideal workout for nature lovers. Not only do they enjoy breaking a sweat, but also breathing in fresh air. That is, unless they live in high-traffic areas full of pollution. Though emissions, like those from diesel fuel, are harmful for people to breathe in, a new study discovered that working through the smog could help the body adapt for the better. 

Scientists from the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine tested the effects of diesel exhaust exposure among two groups of mice for five weeks. Both groups regularly breathed in tainted air, but one group exercised each day while the other remained sedentary. The collected data showed that the mice that did not exercise were plagued with significantly higher levels of lung inflammation and free radicals, while the exercising mice benefited from changes that allowed their immune systems to fight back against the pollution. 

Even if working out could help the body fight off or curb the side effects of air pollution, it's certainly not a cure-all. According to WebMD, there are too many different types of air pollution to assume exercise could help stave off negative symptoms. Instead, people should limit their time spent in cars and remain indoors during peak traffic times if they live in congested areas. Investing in a professional-grade air purifier like the IQAir GC MultiGas is another smart way to breathe easy at home. 

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