Most of us who would like to join a gym to improve our health, fitness, or train to compete usually research online or visit a gym before making a commitment. Some want to make sure their gym is close to work or home. Others put the overall vibe on their priority list; like what kind of music, lighting, and friends, or type of people workout there. The last two most common factors are what type of equipment the gyms have, and how much money a membership cost. Usually, nowhere on our conscious ”requirement“ list is the air quality within the fitness center. Why is that?
Most people assume the air indoors is cleaner than outdoors. The World Health Organization has deemed that indoor air can be 2x-5x worse than the outdoor air. Why is this relevant for, especially training?
With the combination of poor indoor air quality and intense exercise, our potential for health issues increases significantly.
According to the Mayo Clinic, ”One reason for this increased risk may be that during aerobic activity, you usually inhale more air and breathe it more deeply into your lungs. And because you're more likely to breathe deeply through your mouth during exercise, the air you breathe in generally bypasses your nasal passages, which normally filter airborne pollution particles“.
Whether outdoors or indoors, training with clean air quality significantly benefits us by maintaining a healthy level of oxygen saturation (the amount of oxygen in our blood that our brains and muscles need when we exert ourselves)
Having air purification means that particles in the air are being captured, so they don't get a chance to affect you. These particles can be anything from airborne viruses and bacteria, pollen, hair, dust, debris, and other common air contaminants.
If you are serious about your training and health, here's three additional top questions we recommend to add to your priority checklist when searching for your ”right“ gym.
- Do they monitor their indoor air quality levels?
- Do they have a dedicated air filtration system in addition to their HVAC system?
- Do they have regularly scheduled maintenance on their air quality systems? If a vent or filtration system is not service, they will eventually become clogged and perform poorly. Two easy giveaways are dust and odor. What's not so easy to tell is the accumulation of the most dangerous type of air particles; PM2.5 and PM1, which are invisible to the human eye. That is why an indoor air quality monitor is beneficial; for everyone to see how clean the air is that they are breathing.
Since there is a lot of fast/heavy breathing involved in training, high concentrations of carbon dioxide can build up within a gym too, making people more tired, lethargic and training becomes more difficult. That can immediately affect the quality of a workout, especially for those who train to compete.
Those with asthma who have permission to train from their doctors should be sure to ask gym personnel about their air quality. If they don't know, the management should, and if they are not sure, then, most likely the effort to create a clean air environment is not taken as serious as other gyms.
Already belong to a gym?
Even if you an existing member and already belong to a gym, we encourage you to evaluate how healthy the indoor air quality is where you work out. If you notice any symptoms at all, (headaches, nausea, irritation of the eyes, nose and/or throat, worsening condition of asthma, etc.) bring it up to the management and if nothing is done about it, consider other alternatives.
The advantages of working out in an environment with enhanced, indoor air quality are not only beneficial to your health, but can attribute to increasing your performance and stamina.
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