Too Smoggy to Run? Check the AQHI!

Runners I know obsess over the weather. Checking weather apps days in advance, monitoring the coolest time of day, and planning workouts around the shadiest route. But as most of us in urban centres know, it’s not just the heat that matters, it’s the smog!

With summer temperatures on the rise, it’s more important than ever to be conscious of the risks associated with air pollution and extreme heat when being active outdoors. To help make smog easier to monitor, Summerhill Impact, in partnership with The Running Room and the Government of Canada, announced the launch of Air Health – a brand new website and resource to encourage Canadians to make the Air Quality Health Index (or AQHI) a part of their daily lives. The AQHI is a simple scale designed to help Canadians understand what outdoor air quality means to their health – the higher the number, the higher the risk.


While everyone can experience symptoms of air pollution, some people are at higher risk, such as seniors, young children or those with existing lung or heart disease. People who do strenuous activities outdoors, such as exercising, sports or physical work can also be at increased risk during those activities. On days when air pollution levels are significantly elevated, even people not typically at risk may notice symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, trouble breathing or irritated eyes, nose or throats.

Checking outdoor air quality is as simple as checking the weather and just as useful. Just like weather and temperature, outdoor air quality can change with the seasons and time of day; high levels of outdoor air pollutants can seriously impact your day.

To learn more about Air Health Check and the Air Quality Health Index visit

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