In some parts of the world smog is common year round. Should running outside be avoided in these areas? I prefer to run outside and have no health problems but am concerned about exposing my child to these same risks?

If running in smog can make it more likely to develop asthma how should an aspiring long distance runner train? Are treadmills alone sufficient?


1 Answer 1


Breathing in any irritant is bad for overall lung health. I suggest following @cbll 's information on identifying air pollution and guidelines for your given location.

In terms of "...are treadmills sufficient?" Yes and no. Running on the ground is always harder than on a treadmill. Being able to run longer on a treadmill does equate to overall aerobic endurance... Just not on a 1:1 scale. You can try to accurately mimic courses with grade (though downhill sections would require a specialized treadmill mimicking that downward-slope); but, ultimately the treadmill is assisting you to some degree. Defining long-distance is also important... Half-Marathons, Marathons, Ultra-Distance Marathons all require similar but different training that also include strict diet and sleep schedules.

If you are serious about becoming a long distance athlete, it would be a good idea to find a local trainer for more advice. Also, consult your physician to make sure nothing in your medical history contraindicates long distance/endurance training.

  • 1
    informative, but doesn't answer the base question about asthma.
    – JohnP
    May 31, 2016 at 20:54
  • I wasn't sure about the smog/asthma aspect - so I answered the long distance running on a treadmill. Valid point, though.
    – BryceH
    Jun 1, 2016 at 13:44
  • My health is fine and I am an experienced marathon runner already. Trainers will not help me, but maybe a pediatrician would have access to some asthma risk factor studies that could help me. Your answer offered good general advice but my primary focus was if "Is running in smog a risk factor for (my child) developing asthma".
    – Yao Choa
    Jun 1, 2016 at 18:37
  • I have decided to accept your answer because it addressed the fitness issues and I realized that the asthma risk factor question might be better suited for the health stack exchange site. Thanks!
    – Yao Choa
    Jun 1, 2016 at 18:44

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