ACE Recommends Avoiding Strenuous Outdoor Exercise in Unhealthy Air Quality as San Diego Fires Take Toll on Regular Exercisers

Posted: Oct 24, 2007 in

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Oct. 24, 2007) The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s nonprofit fitness authority, strongly recommends and supports recent information from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that individuals with heart or lung disease, older adults and children AVOID prolonged or heavy exertion due to unhealthy to very unhealthy Air Quality Index (AQI) levels. Everyone else should REDUCE prolonged or heavy exertion during this time predicted to last through Friday, October 26 because of the San Diego fires.

“During exercise, where mouth breathing plays an important role, the body’s normal air filtration process is much less efficient, and more pollutants reach the lungs, said Robyn Stuhr, ACE Executive Vice President and Exercise Physiologist. “These pollutants may interfere with the body’s ability to carry oxygen, forcing the heart to pump harder, irritate the eyes, constrict air passages and lower the body’s resistance upper respiratory illness and colds.”

Certain pollutants can damage the cells lining the air spaces in the lungs. Damaged cells are shed and replaced, but if this depletion occurs repeatedly, the lungs could become permanently damaged.

Stuhr recommends air conditioned fitness facilities with appropriate filters for exercisers. Otherwise, focus on stretching or low-intensity activities which can help provide stress relief without overtaxing the lungs.

“I’ve seen people running through areas covered in ash, that can’t be right,” said Jessica Matthews, an avid and regular exerciser. “I run on Mondays and Wednesdays and I have to admit, I’m going stir crazy not being able to get out there. Exercise is such a stress reliever and especially now, we could all use it.”

About ACE

The American Council on Exercise (ACE), your premier certification, education and training organization, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. ACE sponsors university-based exercise science research and is one of the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certifying organizations. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE Web site at


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