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Who's causing air pollution in your gym?

Blame your lungs.

Every time you gasp for air in a crowded gym, you’re polluting the place. Those deep sputtering breaths after a HIIT session spew carbon dioxide into the confined workout chamber.

Get enough breathless people doing burpees in the same room and you could create abnormal levels of air pollution in the gym, according to a new study out next month in Building and Environment.

Researchers from Portugal monitored the air quality in 11 Lisbon gyms and found heightened concentrations of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and airborne dust. 

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Poor ventilation, small spaces, and breathless exercisers appear to be the culprits.

From the New York Times:

“Their findings were disquieting. In general, the gyms showed high levels of airborne dust, formaldehyde and carbon dioxide. The concentrations of these substances generally exceeded most accepted standards for indoor air quality. (No government agency in the United States formally monitors air quality in gyms.)

The levels were especially high during evening aerobics classes, when many people were packed into small studios, stirring up dust and fumes and puffing heavily, producing carbon dioxide with every breath.”

There isn’t a whole lot the average gym-goer can do, as ventilation problems need to be solved by the gym. But you can look for clean, open facilities and go at less crowded times. Or, you know, you could just not breath while you work out. 


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