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Air quality at the gym

Want to stay fit? Wherever you work out, you should make sure the air you breathe is clean. When exercising indoors, be sure your home or fitness center has good ventilation and air filtration systems that are operating properly and well maintained.

So how clean is the air at your gym?

Maybe not as clean as you think. In fact, exercising indoors could even be doing you more harm than good. A study carried out by researchers from the University of Lisbon in Portugal and the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands indicated how poor ventilation in workout areas and aerobic studios encourages the buildup of high levels of dust and toxic gases.

Samples of the air taken in 11 gyms tested by researchers contained carbon monoxide and ozone along with airborne VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), which include chemicals such as formaldehyde, released by carpeting and cleaning products. During the busiest hours, the levels of these air pollutants – especially dust, formaldehyde and carbon dioxide – exceeded national air quality standards.

Other air pollutants studied were PM10, PM2.5, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds. Breathing these pollutants can cause fatigue, sore throat, coughing, irritated eyes, and lightheadedness instead of promoting your health through exercise. More importantly, it may also help reduce your lung function. That makes an air purifier an obvious need for a healthy workout at the gym.

Breathe through your nose

So, to stay fit, make sure you exercise at fitness centers where the air is clean. In fact, an air purifier at the gym is even more important when you consider this: When exercising, you take in more air with each breath and usually breathe through your mouth – not your nose, which is your body’s built-in air filter. But breathing through your mouth enables pollutants to travel much deeper into your lungs and become trapped there.

Unfortunately, the Lisbon study showed that when rooms or studios were occupied with people working out, the levels of particles in the air increased. Another study shows that inhaling high levels of particle pollutants reduces athletic performance by up to 24% during short-term high-intensity interval training.

For the elite sailors who competed in the 2017 Americas Cup in Bermuda, sustaining peak physical trim demanded relentless lung-gasping workouts in a humid, sweat-drenched gym, That’s why the athletes of Sweden’s challenger Artemis Racing partnered with Blueair to make every breath worth breathing at their base camp. The team were given two powerful Blueair Pro XL air purifiers, each capable of completely purifying the air in rooms 110 m2 (1180 sq ft) every 12 minutes.

Be proactive about clean gym air

How can you create the best environment for your workouts? Here are a few ideas:

  • Ask your gym about care and maintenance of the ventilation system.
  • Inform your workout buddies and ask them to ask for cleaner air at your gym.
  • Recommend daily cleaning of all surfaces.
  • Suggest the use of non-toxic cleaners.
  • See if an air quality consultant can measure pollutant levels indoors.
  • Investigate the use of room air purifiers and air quality monitors too.

If the indoor air quality doesn’t measure up to indoor air quality standards in your country, consider finding a gym with better air quality. Or exercise outdoors or at home if air quality outdoors is better than at the gym.

The Blueair Pro XL air purifier has received substantial critical acclaim for their innovative, cutting-edge design and superior air cleaning performance, including a Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design GOOD DESIGN® award. Blueair’s Pro XL harnesses three sets of unique v-shaped filters and an inbuilt particulate monitoring system that removes allergens, dust, viruses and chemicals.

Check out the Blueair families below to find the best air purifier for you