Being sporty in the city can be challenging – beyond dodging traffic, navigating crowds, and staying visible at night (to name a few)… air pollution can also have a negative impact on our health, especially when working out or playing sports.
It’s important to note that the overall benefits of being active usually outweigh the negative effects of air pollution exposure (so don’t stop being active!). However, the better you breathe, the better you’ll perform and the healthier you’ll be. In any case, it’s often possible to breathe better by making a few simple tweaks to your routine.
Why does high-intensity physical activity make you more susceptible to air pollution? To begin with, when your body is under strain, the volume of inhaled air (and whatever pollutants are in it) increases by a 10 to 20 factor. On top of that, during a physical activity we tend to breathe through our mouths, diminishing the natural filtration capacity of our nose. In a nutshell, we breathe more unfiltered air when we are active and this means more pollutants get into our lungs and eventually into our bloodstream.
Unfortunately, the risk is such that after 90 minutes of weekly physical activity in highly polluted air, it becomes less dangerous for our cardiovascular health to do nothing. A recent study published in the European Heart Journal found that physical activity in a polluted environment can increase the risks of having a cardiovascular disease by 30%.
We have to balance the many studies that prove the harmfulness of air pollution with the clear need to stay active if we want to maintain our health. This is why R-PUR launched the Nano Sport Mask that allows us to get out and get moving even if the air is polluted. The Nano model, that we previously presented here, was originally designed for cyclists. The R-PUR team developed the new Sport Model to be more breathable, lighter, and with improved ergonomics—including an all-new strap. Unlike its predecessor, the Nano Sport embeds 8 layers of filtration to protect from the gas, odors, bacteria, and particulate matter—right down to the tiniest, most dangerous particles (PM0,05).
I had a chance to test this mask during a run in the streets of Lille, france. The Flanders capital is unfortunately one of the most polluted cities in France, making it a perfect testing ground. My first remark is that the mask fits, which is essential when you’re running. I had the chance to adjust it beforehand, which definitely gained me some time. Once you’re strapped in, even if it feels counterintuitive to wear a mask while running, I quickly got used to it. During the 35 minutes of my run, I did not feel any discomfort in my breathing, the air flowing easily in and out. I was able to run normally at a moderate pace. Eventually, the sweat gathered in the end which made the mask less comfortable to wear.
Overall, I felt that the gain of health protection from the mask largely outweighed the light discomfort from wearing it.
After having tested it out, I can say that the Nano Sport mask by R-PUR could become essential when you are out for a run in an urban environment. In addition to the mask, you can anticipate the pollution: avoid the polluted streets on your path by checking our street-by-street air pollution map.
In short, if you’re planning some physical activity in town, I would advise you to :
- Check the current pollution level and the forecasts, to go out at the least polluted time.
- Plan your route with the street-by-street air quality map when running.
- Wear an anti-pollution mask if the pollution levels are too high
Because protecting our community against pollution is our mission and I found the R-PUR Nano Sport mask really useful, we have a 20% off discount code for you!