Sherri McMillan

Working Out When There is Fire All Around

21272118_10154712911256946_5769028481216464740_nWith the recent fires in the Gorge and throughout the Northwest, it feels like we are surrounded by smoke and fires. Many have questioned whether it’s still okay to exercise outdoors with smoke in the air.

The Environmental Proection Agency (EPA) has created the Air Quality Index (AQI) to answer that question. This index can tell us how clean or polluted our air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern. It measures particles in the air, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and ground level ozone.

AQI is measured from 0 to 500, with the higher the AQI number, the greater the level of air pollution and greater health concerns.

The AQI provides the following classifications:

In the Northwest, as I write this column, we are at the “Unhealthy” or “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” level. If you generally exercise outdoors, what are your options so you don’t risk the health of your lungs and respiratory system and avoid getting out of your workout routine? Plus many of us need an outlet to help deal with the sadness and anger that we feel with the tragedy all around.


Surgical Masks

Indoor Versions

Group Classes

DVDS/On Demand Exercise


Set a Challenge and HELP!

Note: if you are outdoors, and your notice your eyes are itchy and burning, your throat is scratchy and find yourself coughing and/or wheezing, these are signs that your body is struggling with the pollution. Get indoors quickly! And clearly, those with allergies, asthma and other respiratory/health issues, should take more precautions and be more conservative with their outdoor exposure.

Stay safe and be sure to thank a Fire Fighter!

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Note:  As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.

Girlfriends Half Pic 2016

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Sherri McMillan, holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for over 20 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year – Runner up. As a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including “Go For Fit – the Winning Way to Fat Loss” & “Fit over Forty” and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs, she is a spokesperson for Nike, Twist Conditioning and PowerBar. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S.A. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training a training studio in Vancouver, WA and can be found running, biking, or hiking with her daughter Brianna and her son Jackson.