Air purifiers for the gym /health club/ Sports Club
Over the years, fitness and health has become a priority and we don’t mind going lengths to ensure we live a healthy and fit life. Sports clubs, gyms and spas have become an important part of our life, both socially and for health reasons. But have we paused and thought about the air quality in a gym or a health club and how it impacts our health?
Air Quality in the gymnasium or a health club
In the recent years there have been studies which address the most common airborne pollutants at gyms or health club.
One particular study conducted by researchers at the University of Lisbon in Portugal took air samples from 11 different gyms whose facilities, according to the researchers, were similar to American gyms.
This study found that fitness centers can be filled with excess levels of pollutants and airborne chemicals. The most common ones being carbon dioxide, particulate matter (such as dust and other tiny particles) and gases like formaldehyde.
It was also found that the more the occupants in the gym was directly correlated with higher particulate matter and other airborne pollutants.
Common air pollutants in the gymnasium/ Spa / Sports club
Indoor air pollutants
Indoor air pollutants could result in an ineffective workout. A study conducted by the Lancet has indicated that it is better to minimize the amount of exercise that you are doing in environments with high air pollutants because it could curtail or even reverse the cardiorespiratory benefits of exercise. This is especially true for an indoor gym facility/ spa or a sports club that does not have proper air filtration and ventilation in the space which will eventually lead to accumulation of airborne pollutant levels in the indoor air.
Unpleasant odors are inevitable in gyms and spas. With heavy workouts comes heavy sweating and breathing. Cleaning agents which have a strong smell are commonly used in the gyms.
The strong, pungent odour that is easily recognisable in cleaning products, urine, and human sweat is nothing but ammonia. Prolonged exposure to ammonia can result in lung damage.
Bacteria, viruses, and mold
Molds are mostly evident in gyms, fitness centers and spas due to the high moisture levels specially found in the shower rooms, steam rooms, pools, exercise zone, water coolers and locker rooms. Mold can lead to skin infections and lung infections.
Viruses and bacteria are invisible to the naked eye and are cause of many infections like colds, COVID-19, and influenza. Coughing or sneezing near another person may pass these viruses on in the form of droplets or aerosols which may remain in the air for many hours.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)
VOCs are emitted from many sources like paints, furniture, carpets and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, building materials and furnishings.
In spas, gymnasiums, and sports clubs many chemical disinfectants and cleaning agents are used which emit VOCs. Though it helps in removing viruses, germs, and mold spores, they contain toxic agents such as formaldehyde and glutaraldehyde. Exposure of even small amounts of these toxic gases can have an adverse effect on the human health.
One can suffer symptoms like nausea, impairment of the memory, dexterity, or reactivity as a result. Less toxic compounds such as isopropanol, ethanol and n-propanol can cause irritation of the respiratory tract and the mucous membranes.
Gym air and COVID-19
In gyms, users are often breathing heavier than in other buildings, caused by their workout, which causes an increased release of particulates and airborne microbes such as viruses.
When you are at rest, you normally take 12–15 breaths per minute. One breath consists of around half a litre of air. During strenuous exercise, you can breathe up to 60 times per minute. Your intake of air rises from 6–7 litres per minute when at rest to 100–120 litres per minute when you are working at your hardest. An elite athlete can breathe much more air/day depending on the volume of training. Because of this they also inhale more particles than a normal person.
Given the overall impact of pollution on the lung tissues, and with the pandemic on the rise, its imperative, steps are taken to ensure the gym members are breathing in clean air to reduce the volume of harmful particulates that they take in and to keep the infections at bay.
How to keep safe while working out?
Individuals exercising can be at risk when they are exercising in polluted environments especially groups who are asthmatic and immunocompromised.
Poor air quality has an adverse effect on the body. When the air is filled with high particulate matter it can lead to symptoms like sore or itchy eyes, problems with wearing contact lenses, a runny nose, an irritated throat, headaches, tiredness, and asthma-like symptoms.
Here are the two things any gym owner can do to improve air quality at a gym.
Proper ventilation is key. As seen in the Lisbon study, most of the fitness centers do not have proper ventilation, resulting in poor indoor air quality.
Good ventilation in gyms and health centers should include a HVAC system that takes into consideration the size of the space and the number of members exercising at peak times.
If the weather permits, consider opening windows and allowing fresh outdoor air to flow inside. Opening windows will help if the outdoor air quality is good. Keep a check on the AQI (Air Quality Index) reports.
2. Use a powerful Air purifier
Air filtration systems should be installed in the gym. The number of air purifiers to be installed depends upon the size of the gym and the number of clients working out.
The Airpura UV600 is the best air purifier for a gym or health centre. It removes dust, pollen, dander, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), mold, bacteria, and viruses from the indoor air. It has three levels of filtration – 18lbs of activated carbon, to remove odors, gases, and VOC’s and a HEPA filter that removes pollen, mold spores, fungi, dust, pet dander, hair, and visible smoke. It also features an added level of protection: the UV light which helps inactivate the pathogens.