Many cities in China suffer from severe air pollution, while some in northern and western China also suffer from sandstorms sporadically throughout the year. Environmental issues are at the top of the central government agenda, although vested interests at the local level can limit implementation. We all hope the pollution will reduce more quickly than they are at present, but for now be sensible about doing vigorous exercise if air pollution is high.
The risks of air pollution shouldn’t be an issue for anyone on our programmes, partly because pollution peaks in winter (due to coal burning, central heating and other factors), but also because the major risks are for those who have had long-term exposure (think in terms of years, not weeks).
Download an AQI (air quality index) app to monitor local air pollution, and consider investing in a face mask to wear on certain days. If you want an effective mask, it should be N95 certified as anything that isn’t doesn’t filter out the most problematic particles of pollution.
As you will only be exposed to the pollution for a short period over the summer, you do not need to be too concerned, but it is always advisable to keep it in mind when planning runs or outdoor activities. It is usually advisable to avoid intense physical exercise or to wear a mask when pollution is high.
As a guide, 15[unit] pm2.5 is deemed healthy by the WHO, while many Chinese cities consistently reach 100[unit] or more. Do also check your home city’s air pollution index, it might be higher than you think!