New Study on Air Quality Inside Gyms May Surprise You

When looking to get healthy, stay in shape, or lose some holiday weight, going to gym is many people’s first choice for exercise. However, going to the gym may not be as healthy as you imagine.

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 Study reveals air quality in gyms are not as healthy as imagined.

Researchers from the University of Lisbon and the Delft University of Technology studied the air quality inside gyms and discovered unexpected results.[1] They monitored airborne contaminants in the gym including carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), ozone (O3), particulate matter (PM) like dust and chemical compound from carpeting, cleaning and furniture.[2] Unfortunately, the result of the study showed that the air quality in  gyms is unsatisfactory and the high concentration of airborne dust, carbon dioxide and formaldehyde can be a health hazard.

According to the study, airborne dust is the most serious hazard in the gym because people’s vigorous movement during exercise can bring dirt and debris into the air. The high level of formaldehyde released in the gym, which can cause asthma and other respiratory problems, is a great potential health concern. The data showed that both dust and formaldehyde levels in the gym significantly exceeded the healthy indoor air quality of Europe.

Although carbon dioxide is not toxic, the high level of CO2 in the gym is also a problem. High concentrations of CO2, caused by heavy exhaling, can cause uncomfortable symptoms like fatigue and lightheadedness. When many people exercising in the same room, CO2 level can increase fast and make the air quality worse especially when the ventilation is bad. These high levels of CO2  may hamper your workouts by making you feel more tired.

The researchers also mentioned that the bad air quality in gyms may have more adverse effect on our body because we breathe deeper while exercising and the contaminants can reach deeper in our lungs. Don’t let this study deter you from going to the gym. Carbon Monoxide levels, a highly toxic invisible gas, were found to be extremely low. This means there is no immediate threat to your health from the air quality in gyms. However, avid gym goers may want to speak with the gym managers if you notice stale odors in your gym air. So next time you go to the gym, please take care of the air quality and check the ventilation.

 

[1] http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/05/the-bad-air-in-our-gyms/?_r=0

[2] http://www.shape.com/blogs/working-it-out/air-quality-your-gym-may-not-be-so-clean

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