So if there’s a day with high levels of pollution due to possible causes like wildfires or smog-heat, exercising outside means the amount of pollution and irritants you’re breathing in will increase by the same amount, Dr. Buhr adds that this is a concern for people with pre-existing conditions that affect the lungs, such as asthma.
However, air pollution rates are increasing, and Dr. Buhr says that when you hear about wildfires or days of heavy pollution, it’s important to check the air quality outside to see if you might be better served by working indoors. Fortunately, Google recently released a new Air Quality layer in its app to make checking super easy.
The new feature lets you see Air Quality Index scores, which the EPA and other agencies measure at a local level across the country, without the need to Google “AQI near me.”
User feedback helped drive this latest update to the app, according to Hema Budaraju, senior director of product in health and search social impact. “We hear from many of our users that when they’re researching places to go and things to do, they want to get a clear picture of the weather and air quality before they decide to go somewhere,” she says. “You can imagine that if you’re planning a day outside and see that the forecast or the air quality is going to be bad, you can use Google search and maps to find alternative activities.”
For a similar reason, Google has added a wildfire layer to its maps that will show you where there are wildfires in your area, which can be another indication to avoid exercising outdoors.
To show these layers, update Google Maps to the latest version of the app Then click the Layers button in the upper-right corner and tap the layer you want to view. No googling required! Air quality is divided into easy-to-understand ratings such as “good”, “moderate” and “poor”.
In general, air quality is not something you can afford to ignore. “Even if the sky looks fairly clear, the air quality can still be fairly poor,” Dr. Buhr said. So your safest bet is to check the AQI where you plan to work. Even if you don’t have an underlying lung condition, it can’t hurt and, frankly, with 90-percent of the world’s population living in poor air quality and air pollution persisting, it might be a good habit to watch. may be a major health concern among World Health Organizations.