Utah Pollution So Bad You Can’t Exercise Outdoors :: Staying in Shape with an Indoor Workout Plan

Salt Lake City in smoggy haze

Today, we learned that the air pollution in Utah is so bad that doctors have deemed it unfit for children‘s young lungs. Given that Mormon Utah has the highest birth rate of any state in the country, this is big news, and another disturbing sign of the cost of business as usual. Utah’s economy is built on coal power and the health effects and other hidden costs of coal are starting to become obvious in many places. Coal is obviously not the only factor in Utah, but the bottom line is that health advisories there have a dramatic impact on everyone’s health.

For joggers, cyclists and other people who like to work out, does this mean they have to become couch potatoes or move out of Utah?

Exercising regularly has several health benefits which are hard to ignore, and they’re available for anyone to gain regardless of the gender, age or physical ability. Apart from burning calories and helping you to stay in good physical shape, studies have shown it also helps in alleviating stress and reducing anxiety levels.

The good news is that exercise can be performed indoors as well as outdoors. Exercising indoors is a good option when pollution is bad (or the weather conditions don’t allow for outdoor physical activity especially if you don’t have the proper gear).

Indoor exercise benefits

1. Alleviates stress

If you’ve gone through a stressful day and can’t go out for a walk to clear your mind, exercising indoors will give you that much needed emotional lift, making you feel relaxed while lifting your mood in the process. Indoor exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve self-esteem.You can also find ways to force yourself to move around while working because getting sucked into your computer for too long can be very unhealthy if you go to long without actual movement.

2. Helps in regular physical activity  

If you have been following a regular schedule of outdoor physical activity such as weight training in the gym and sports but can’t go in a particular season due to severe weather conditions, it’s possible for you to maintain that schedule by continuing to exercise indoors.

3. Keeps the weight in check

It’s common for people to blame outside conditions for putting on weight as they’re not able to perform physical activity outside. However, when outside conditions aren’t ideal for exercising, indoor work-outs are a good option to keep the weight in check and limit unnecessary fat.

In this case where exercising outside is not possible, you have variety of indoor exercises (free-weight and machines) to choose from such as treadmills for the house and pilates equipment. You can also perform yoga inside the house, and you’ll find several instructional videos available online that would complement you during the learning process.

However, not everyone is going to be comfortable with exercising indoors due to air quality, and, presuming you don’t live in a polluted place like Utah, it’s better for most to be out in the fresh air, exercising in courts, parks and open-air gyms.

Outdoor exercise benefits

1. Natural Vitamin D

By working out in natural light, you can benefit from Vitamin D absorption from the sunlight. Even exercising for 10-15 minutes outdoors few times per week can help you to obtain ideal levels of this important vitamin.

2. Revitalization

Research has proved exercising outside gives a greater feeling of revitalization compared to indoor workouts, particularly when the exercise is performed in shape of an outdoor activity such as hiking.

3. Fresh air

Perhaps, the biggest benefit of working out outside is the smell of fresh air that you get to breath, which even improves your mental health as well.You can get a great dose of fresh air by walking or biking.

While working out in fresh air provides an optimal exercise environment, pollution in certain places due to cars and other pollutants have made it difficult to continue physical activity outside.

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[Image by Tony Frates at, Creative Commons license]

Written by Guest Contributor

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