Biking may not be as healthy as we thought, according to new research

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Biking to work is normally regarded as a healthy, environmentally-conscious way to get around.

But new research from CSU in Fort Collins found that it is not as healthy and clean as it has been thought to be. That's because as you're cruising along next to traffic, you're breathing in large amounts of air pollution.

"Gases like carbon monoxide and particulates like black carbon," CSU lead researcher John Volckens said.

Researchers used specialized backpacks full of monitors and technology to measure how much pollution cyclists have to deal with.

"Levels on roads or right next to roads can be five-to-ten times higher than in the foothills or in a park far away from roads," Volckens added.

While it is still below regulatory levels, that's not good for those with asthma or other preexisting conditions.

But the research does not suggest that biking is unhealthy. Actually, it's the opposite.

"The health benefits of cycling totally outweigh the fact that we're breathing in more air pollution."

And those involved in the research say it is better to simply find an alternate route away from major roads, trucks, and construction zones. Just make sure it isn't too far out of the way, because then you're breathing in pollution for longer periods of time. 


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