Exercising in Utah’s inversion

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As the weather gets colder, doctors warn Utahns to be on the lookout for inversion. In Utah, people are exercising outdoors almost every hour of the day. But as the cold weather hits, there are many safety precautions to consider.

Getting ready for the holiday season and cold weather can be great for fun activities like skiing, ice skating and sledding, but as winter falls upon us here in Utah, we also run the risk of experiencing the inversion. 

Dr. Walstir Fonseca, an internal medicine doctor, warns people who have any kind of health risks of the dangers of outdoor exercise during the cold weather. “If it is the inversion time,” she warned, “the best thing to do is not to go outside. Period.”

Most of Utah’s population lives along the Wasatch Front, which means with the highly concentrated amount of people in this region, air quality issues like pollution occur.

So, what does this risk mean for locals?

According to Dr. Fonseca, “Think about what you are going to do year round.”

Although most of the year is beautiful for outdoor exercisers, the cold winter can be dangerous. The weather conditions in Utah can lead to an inversion, when cold air is held close to the ground by a layer of warmer air above, leading to trapped pollution.

This causes many who exercise outdoors to risk serious health problems.

Utah is in the top 10 fittest states in the nation, but outdoor enthusiasts hoping to keep their bodies healthy should monitor the weather and the pollution levels. 

Catie Freedman, an active runner and outdoor enthusiast from Utah shares in this struggle. She has exercise-induced asthma, and her doctors advise her to use an inhaler during the cold winter months. “Sometimes it is just too much for my lungs to handle,” she said.

For those who have moderate to severe asthma, doctors recommend to keep working out indoors during the inversion. “Even if you take inhalers, it’s better for you to find an indoor exercise,” insisted Dr. Fonseca.

There are many indoor alternatives to outdoor exercise during this time of year to help stay safe and healthy. “I go to the gym when it’s cold,” said Freedman. “I still just find ways to be out and active.”

Locals can check out their county air quality conditions by going to health.utah.gov.

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