Sports and the environment are two aspects that, in general, go together, it is typical to see people exercising in both urban and natural outdoor spaces.
In fact, exercise is one of the main medical recommendations aimed at improving people’s health. But what happens when this physical activity takes place in an environment of questionable air quality? What is the impact of pollution on athletic performance and the health of people who exercise?
Work out in polluted environments
The health benefits of exercise outweigh the negative impact of exposure to a certain level of air pollution (Giles & Koehle, 2013). But when the air quality is poor, these positive effects are reduced, and exercising outdoors can be counterproductive.
In order to better understand the impact of air pollution, it is necessary to take into account the changes that a person’s breathing experiences when exercising (Carlisle, 2001; Aydın, Cingi, San, Ulusoy & Orhan, 2013; Laeremans et al., 2018):
Increase the ventilation per minute, which may lead to an increase in the frequency of breathing, which leads to an increase in the amount of inhaled pollutants.
Reproduction of the part of the air inhaled through the mouth thus avoiding the filtering mechanism provided by the nose.
Increasing the flow rate of air that enters the lungs and transports pollutants into the depths of the respiratory system.
Therefore, taking into account these physiological responses, knowledge of air quality is essential. ENVIRA provides this information thanks to the use of calibrated sensors in certified laboratories that can be installed in sports facilities, public roads, or in places frequented by professional or amateur athletes.
Even some Pro Lacrosse Players have suggested that playing in this pollution environment has really have affected their game, even if they are playing with the top Complete Lacrosse Sticks still their game is not improving much due to the pollution.
What is the turning point?
There is little research to suggest limits to the pollutants that exercise can be harmful to. When these ranges are established, diverse variables, such as participants’ age or exercise intensity, agree.
However, Grotto (2017), for example, proposes the following limit values for PM2.5 particles, which it is estimated that it will be necessary to cancel outdoor sports activities:
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