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Is outdoor exercise risky?

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People exercising near 7 Makara bridge. Photograph: Banung Ou/Phnom Penh Post

Exercise can improve your health and help reduce the risk of illness. However, is exercising in polluted areas good for health?

“I do exercises twice a day, in the morning and in the evening,” says Pen Sophal, a governmental officer who runs every day at Kdan Pi park.

“I choose this park to do exercises since it is near my house and I don’t need to spend any money. On top of that, I can start and finish whenever I want.

However, it is not always fun, since sometimes I get sick or catch a cold. Maybe I exercise too much or do it wrongly. I am actually not sure,” Sophal says.

Is physical exercises in polluted areas a risk for health?

“I am not going to exercise in crowed place along the road since I am worried about safety,” says Ly Kim Eng, a second-year student in Khmer literature at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

“An accident can happen. Also, as a Khmer girl, I don’t think running around in public is the thing to do. Moreover, outdoors exercises are not good for health since it is dirty and dusty.”

Dr. Prak Piseth Raingsy, director of the Heath Protection department at the Ministry of Health, says “Inhaling smog really affects people even if they do not do any exercises outside.

“Vehicles fumes contain chemicals detrimental to health and may affect lungs." Raingsy says.

“We, human being, should do exercise in a place where there is no pollution since it is good for health.

“However, if you cannot avoid doing exercise in crowded places, I suggest you do it in the early morning hours because roads are less crowded with low levels of pollution unlike in the evening when roads are jammed,” says Raingsy.

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