Hi Pacers! You may have noticed special badges for our challenges this month. That’s because Pacer has teamed up with the UN/WHO/CCAC BreatheLife2030 Challenge to encourage people to get out and walk! Walk or take public transportation this month instead of driving to get healthier than ever and to reduce air pollution in your area. More walking and less driving is a win/win – improve the health of our bodies and our environment at the same time.
Why should I walk instead of drive?
Walking is easy, fun and one of the best fitness activities you can do to get healthier! Check out our blog post on why you should walk for health! Every kilometer you walk instead of drive gives you about 1,300 steps depending on your stride length. Each km walked instead of driven also saves about 250 grams of CO2!
The CDC recommends 150 minutes per week (2.5 hours) of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking. 300 minutes (5 hours) per week gives even more health benefits. Almost anyone can get out and walk, so it just makes sense to be as active as possible!
One of the best ways to get more steps is to replace one of your daily drives with a daily walk! Even if you live in an area that’s less walkable, you can often take care of multiple errands at one time with a little walking. You’ll save money on gas, get more steps and get a nice walk in around your local neighborhood!
Driving during rush hour or other heavy traffic periods is stressful, frustrating and slow. Get a double benefit by walking instead of driving during peak times. Avoid the traffic (and the stress!), plus reduce contributions to air pollution during these high-pollution times.
What is BreatheLife?
BreatheLife mobilizes communities to reduce the impact of air pollution on our health & climate. The BreatheLife campaign is a joint campaign by the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Environment and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC). Read more about BreatheLife here!
Why team up with BreatheLife?
It turns out that one of the best ways to reduce air pollution is also one of the best ways to stay healthy – Walking! By simply walking (or biking, or taking public transportation) instead of driving, you reduce both particulate and ozone pollution in your area. Walking is easy, fun, and a great way to improve your health.
Without a way to track your steps or a goal to work towards, it’s difficult to measure your impact. That’s where Pacer comes in! Join our May Distance Challenge and walk 50km in May for BreatheLife. That’s more than a Marathon! You’ll get more fit than ever by walking more and driving less, and you’ll make the air where you live just a little cleaner. Make sure to post your results to your Pacer feed, so that your fellow Pacers can see how far you’re walking!
Why should I worry about air pollution?
No matter where you live, there’s a good chance you’ll be exposed to unsafe air at some point in your life. In fact, 9 out 10 people worldwide breathe polluted air! Ambient air pollution contributes to heart disease, strokes, and other illnesses. Worldwide, over 4 million people die every year from ambient outdoor air pollution.
Even though air pollution levels are generally lower in developed countries in Europe and the Americas, pollution levels in these countries still contribute to health problems. According to the WHO, “In cities of high-income countries in Europe, air pollution has been shown to lower average life expectancy by anywhere between 2 and 24 months, depending on pollution levels.”
In the US, the American Lung Association found that “[m]ore than four in 10 people (41 percent) in the United States live in counties that have unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution.” That’s over 133 million Americans! This includes unsafe levels of ozone, short-term particle pollution, and year-round particle pollution. 7.7 million Americans (2.4%) live in areas that experience high levels of all 3 types!
How does my city stack up?
Los Angeles suffers from the highest level of ozone pollution (as it does nearly every year). Fairbanks, Alaska recently moved into first place for the highest year-round particulate pollution and Bakersfield, California has the highest levels of short-term particulate pollution.
Worldwide, the Eastern Mediterranean and Southeast Asia have the highest levels of ambient pollution, followed by parts of Africa and the Western Pacific region.
What can I do if I live in a high-pollution area?
You can also visit BreatheLife’s website or the WHO’s website to read more about air pollution, what you can do to mitigate its effects and how you can help fight air pollution in your city, country and worldwide!