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The Surprising Impact of Air Pollution on Exercise

By May 5, 2016 5 Comments

Camfil air filtration specialists highlight key points in a study that suggests air pollution adversely affects exercise.

According to a past review published by the University of Queensland, there is strong evidence to support the assertion that air pollution has negative effects on cardiovascular health during exercise. The impact is particularly strong for those who work out outdoors in urban regions where the concentration of air contaminants is relatively high. Individuals who exercise in this type of environment are likely at a higher risk of developing health complications linked to the excessive intake of toxic pollutants. This is because exercise amplifies respiratory intake, and in turn facilitates the increased inhalation of airborne toxins.

Source: Huffington Post Blog “Exercise and Air Pollution”

“According to a 2004 Australian review of pollution studies worldwide, during exercise, even very minimal concentration of air pollutants can damage the lungs. Said harming effect to the lungs is as severe when exposed to high concentrations of soot and air pollutants when not working out. The researchers therefore concluded that individuals who work out outdoors, especially in highly polluted areas, should be worried about their health.”

To read more visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ben-greenfield/air-pollution-health_b_3277086.html.

According to the air filtration specialists of Camfil, there are steps that can be taken by athletes and others to reduce their risks of inhaling a dangerous level of toxic particles while exercising. These include:

  • Exercising during time periods when the air quality of the environment is less compromised – For example, during high temperatures, the exposure to pollutants can be higher because the combination of high heat, sunlight, and chemical compounds that are present in the atmosphere combine with nitrogen oxide and create chemical fumes and other pollutants.
  • Wear a filtration mask if possible – Air filtration masks have been shown to reduce the intake of outdoor air pollutants in athletes who wear them compared to those who don’t.
  • Avoiding busy roads when exercising outdoors – Less trafficked areas typically have a lower concentration of airborne pollutants than others.

The experts say that it is important to take steps to stay healthy during exercise because the volume of air that a person takes in is dramatically higher than the amount consumed while at rest. According to Camfil “When you exercise, you breathe in a bigger volume of air – which also means that you inhale a larger number of unhealthy particles in outdoor or indoor air. When you rest, you normally take 12-15 breaths per minute. One breath consists of around half a liter of air. During exercise, your intake of air rises from 6-7 liters per minute to up to 100-120 liters per minute.”

Improving Indoor Air Quality in Building Structures Impacted by Highly Polluted Outdoor Environments

In urban areas and environments where there is a strong presence of outdoor air contamination, it is also important to take steps to ensure that the indoor air quality of buildings, whether for business or residential use remains at a healthy level. According to Camfil, “High-quality filters in a building’s ventilation system can filter and eliminate a significant proportion of the airborne particles originating from outdoors. And an air purifier can be used to remove pollutants from indoor sources. If these measures are taken, the indoor air quality (IAQ) can be improved considerably, even in places where the outdoor air is heavily polluted.”

Camfil offers solutions for those seeking strong air filter support their commercial, industrial, and residential facilities located in urban areas and other environments where outdoor pollution may be comprising the air quality in these structures. For more information about available products and services from Camfil, click here.

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