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Is running outside in all the wildfire smoke bad for you?

Smoke from wildfires in California and Canada is making the air tremendously hazy in Denver. Here's what you should know if you still want to run outside.

KUSA — The best thing about running is that, unlike other things in life such as eating an entire cake, you never regret doing it once you’re finished.

But, with smoke from the wildfires out west blocking out both the sun and Colorado’s mountain views, it’s fair to wonder if it might be time to opt for an indoor workout.

RELATED | Thick smoke clouds the air across the Front Range Monday

The good news? Unless you have preexisting breathing problems, you likely won’t do lasting damage by getting in your run outside. That’s according to Dr. Anthony Gerber, a pulmonologist at National Jewish Health.

“It’s pretty unlikely that a young, otherwise healthy person is going to have damage from breathing [wildfire smoke],” Gerber said.

With that being said, if exercising outdoors makes you feel bad or you are noticing significant issues with your performance, it might be better to opt for the treadmill, according to Gerber. The same goes for if you find yourself coughing after a workout.

RELATED | That smoke you see in Colorado is from the California wildfires

He also said if you notice significant breathing problems in the smoke but generally are fine, it might be worth a visit to the doctor.

The most risk for damaging your lungs by exercising outside happens with long-term exposure. And even though the smoky air this summer has lasted for weeks, Gerber said it would take far longer to risk damage if you’re healthy.

“One summer of exposure is below the threshold where we have long-term effects,” Gerber said.

So basically if you’re a runner, don’t worry about the wildfire smoke getting in the way of your training.