Skip to content
Join Life Time
a person checks the air quality on their phone

When contemplating an outdoor workout, consider these factors:

  1. Do you see smoke or haze? Can you smell smoke? These are strong indications to reschedule or relocate an intense workout, says Paul Kriegler, RD, CPT, director of nutrition product development at Life Time.
  2. If you wear a fitness tracker that provides a performance indicator such as heart-rate variability (HRV), use that info to guide you during your workout. “Anytime I see a negative performance indication, such as lower-than-usual HRV, I pay extra close attention to how hard I push that day,” he notes.
  3. Zero in on how you’re feeling. If you’re feeling sluggish, if you have a headache, or if you’re struggling more than usual, he advises, consider slowing your pace, reducing your intensity, or even stopping your workout. “The last thing you need to do is push yourself harder when the conditions are unfavorable.”
  4. Look at the Air Quality Index (AQI) from, which offers activity guidance based on ozone and particle pollution in your ZIP code. (Many weather apps also report the AQI.) When air quality is good, the AQI will be flagged as green — meaning it’s a great day to be active outside. Yellow indicates that sensitive groups, like those with asthma, should take precautions. Red and purple denote higher levels of ozone and particle pollution, suggesting that vulnerable individuals should reduce the duration or intensity of their workout — or skip it altogether.

Go Deeper

In the past, thunderstorms, heat waves, or snowstorms may have derailed your plans for training outdoors. Now there’s another environmental scourge to add to that list: poor air quality. To learn more about exercising outdoors, including tips on how to protect yourself, refer to the full article “Is It Safe to Exercise Outdoors When the Air Quality Is Bad?,” from which this article was excerpted.

Jessica Migala

Jessica Migala is a writer specializing in health, nutrition, fitness, and beauty.

Thoughts to share?

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


More Like This

a woman wears a mask while outside looking at her phone with an air quality warning

How Air Pollution Undermines Physical and Mental Health

By Michael Dregni

Many people may underestimate the extent to which air quality can affect their physical health and mental well-being. Read on to learn more.

collage of climate related photos

How Climate Change Affects Your Health — and How to Build Resilience

By Mo Perry

Extreme weather and other climate conditions are affecting our bodies and minds. Discover strategies to build resilience.

Back To Top