With the 2016 Olympic Games set to open in Rio de Janeiro on 5th August, excitement (and nerves) are building and sports fans are talking of little else. This has already been a truly spectacular summer of sport, from the Welsh football team defying the odds in the Euro 2016 tournament to Andy Murray clinching his second Wimbledon title.
There’s an awful lot of hard work that goes into the making of a champion sports star – a strictly controlled diet, countless hours of training, rigorous fitness regimes, psychological guidance - the list goes on. One of the most critical things, however, is ensuring a good source of oxygen to help them improve their performance whilst training. Under the right condition and with clean oxygen, the sporting elite can develop better breathing techniques which boost stamina and allow them to push on harder and for longer, toppling records as they do so.
The quality of the air we breathe has a major impact on our body’s ability to circulate oxygenated blood, vital for physical activity and, indeed, overall health and wellbeing. Good Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is key not only to improving performance in sport, but plays a major role in the everyday lives of those of us who are never going to be champion Olympiads.
The average person spends 90% of their time indoors and, against everything you might expect, indoor air quality is often lower than it is outdoors. With so many man-made objects surrounding us when we’re indoors, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and the chemicals floating around may make the indoor air quality up to 70% more polluted than the air outdoors – if that won’t incentivise you to get out for a run or a bike ride, nothing will…
In confined indoor spaces such as our homes, air has less chance to circulate and problems from moisture build-up, dust and dirt, chemicals released by household items and other pollutants can lead to a range of health issues. At the lower end of the scale, poor indoor air quality can lead to irritation of the eyes, nose and throat or cause headaches, but more serious issues such as dizziness, vomiting and potentially life-threatening respiratory illnesses can result.
When poor indoor air quality affects the amount of oxygen your body takes in, you can start to feel lethargic – not great news for athletes in training, but also a major problem for people simply getting on with their everyday lives at home or at work. So what can be done to improve the quality of the indoor air we breathe and improve our chances of staying fit and healthy?
When it comes to maintaining good indoor air quality, prevention is certainly better than cure. Reducing our exposure to VOCs is one of the most proactive steps we can take. VOCs are found in a whole range of common household items, everything from air fresheners and deodorants to the fabric of our sofas and the paints and woods we use around the house. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals can cause allergic reactions, headaches and breathing difficulties, but switching to low-VOC alternatives when decorating can alleviate symptoms.
One of the quickest and most effective ways of improving indoor air quality, however, is by installing a specially designed, high power ventilation systems that we offer. Unlike dehumidifiers which simply draw moisture out of the air in a single room, indoor ventilation systems work to cleanse the air in the whole building and are much more cost-effective. The overall humidity can be controlled to prevent the moisture build-up which allows bacteria to breed, and the vast majority can be installed discreetly and are extremely easy to operate.
Whether or not you’re the next Usain Bolt, Kelly Holmes or Michael Phelps, it isn’t just the elite sports stars who need to pay attention to the quality of the air they breathe. For better breathing and better health, keeping our indoor air in tip top condition will help us all perform better in the long run.