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I'm not sure what _VERY_ polluted means, but you might consider taking up more physical activity. On GCN youtube cycling channel they argued (including interviews with some health professionals) that even if you live in a city with considerable pollution, the positive effects of commuting on a bicycle outweigh the negative effects of air pollution. They were primarily talking about Britain-scale pollution of course. The principle might change if transfered to a more extreme environment. Something to look into.

My hunch is OP lives in an Indian metro. I absolutely do not recommend commuting on a bike or exposing self to outdoor air in any way during a commute in an Indian metro.

Any physical exertion that makes you breathe harder will cause you to take in more pollution, worsening the effects. Even if exercise helps to offset the damage, your best bet in a polluted place would be to do it inside.

There's been studies done specifically on people cycling to work, and IIRC the conclusion was that the overall QALY result was significantly positive. But that does depend on your baseline - for someone who is fit and active anyway the marginal gain might be small, but for the average person the 10+ QALYS you get from being active vastly outweigh the combined (run over + pollution + injury) cost.

https://eos.org/articles/novel-air-pollution-study-gauges-in... https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920084/

It's about the balance of positive and negative effects. There's always some kind of pollution and there's always some kind of benefit from exercise. The benefit from commuting on a bicycle is considerable. Question is how does the effect of pollution compare. If air quality is better indoors and you can do it indoors, great, but for many people commuting is one of the few opportunities to be physically active.

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