Sports Medicine

Air Pollution: The Hidden Enemy Of Effective Recovery

Have you considered the impact of the very air you breathe on your performance and recovery? While many athletes will look to oxygen therapy to help speed things along, they rarely look at the day-to-day air quality that they experience on every run and cycle.

They should do: influential research published in 2001 in the British Medical Journal found that common air pollutants have a distinct negative impact on athletic performance. That includes both recovery and performance levels afterwards. It follows that you should make every effort to control air pollution; in the home, this is something absolutely achievable.

The fundamentals

During recovery, you’re likely to be spending a lot of time at home. That air is part of your everyday cycle that includes nutrition and exercise, and so it needs to be clean. It’s not uncommon for the home to have an indoor air quality issue: research analyzed by USA Today found that up to 96% of American homes have at least one specific air pollution effort. This is a simple place to start, and all you need is HVAC equipment. It’s important to look at the size of your living space. HVAC systems work using the BTU system, where a single square foot is 25 BTU. Ensure the product you buy has this technology, and then turn your attention to filtering tech.

The need for HEPA

There is one filter standard you need – HEPA. To obtain this level of classification, a product must, according to ScienceDirect, filter 99.99% of particles up to 0.3 micrometers. This is important, as it includes pollution that will create the conditions in which your recovery is impaired. It’s also important to note that this doesn’t include many viruses. You won’t be able to protect yourself from infection if you have a weakened immune system following serious injury, so ensure that you make proper protections to keep yourself safe from that type of illness.

Long-term solutions

HEPA-enabled HVAC is very effective at cleaning the air in your living space, but it can be beneficial to take a natural tilt too. Plants and running water can help to clean air in the home, as can the natural in and out-take of air – assuming that you don’t live right next to a very busy road. Take steps to make your home more natural and to get good ventilation in from natural sources, and you can help to clear out pollutants and stale air. As much as anything, this can provide numerous benefits to your mental health, which has a proven impact on your recovery. A healthy mind is a healthy body, and bringing these factors together can give you a beneficial sense of calm.

There are so many little factors that go into an effective recovery. Make air control one of them. While it’s an almost indiscernible change in how you perceive and enjoy your environment, it can have an influential impact on your overall recovery and chances of great performance in the future.


By Jess Walter 

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