A recent study has changed what we thought we knew about how exercise affects the brain, indicating that where you exercise is a contributing factor.

Researchers uncovered the results that exercising outdoors in polluted areas could actually diminish the positive effects of exercising for the brain, taking away some of the most powerful benefits of exercising.

Because working out goes deeper than just physical health, it is often used as a way to stay mentally sharp, as exercise has been shown to help keep your cognitive abilities in shape and youthful.

Raichlen, the study’s senior author and a professor of human and evolutionary biology, said, “We’re not recommending we avoid all exercise in air pollution. But, since increased white matter lesions are a risk for stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, we do think we should put more thought into where we exercise, and, for example, avoid areas that are close to vehicle traffic.”

This comes as an extra warning of the effects of air pollution as it has been closely linked to cognitive decline and brain health conditions. It’s important to consider where you exercise when trying to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.

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