A brief Guide to Indoor Air for Elite Athletes

Camfil has created ‘A brief Guide to indoor Air for Elite Athletes’ to provide a better understanding of how air affects the body and, therefore, performance.

Indoor air quality for athletes

The guide also explains how to obtain simple and effective protection against air pollution, which is particularly important because training and competing at the highest level and breathing in a larger volume of air each day than “ordinary” people.

Indoor Air Quality for Athletes


A definition of indoor air quality

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is the quality of the air inside a building. It is defined on the basis of the concentrations and levels of incoming chemical and biological substances and the comfort-related factors which affect people and processes. The quality of indoor air is a factor that is often neglected and that has an impact on people’s health, well-being and performance.

Your lungs and clean air

The function of the lungs depends on clean air even in the outermost of the seven million air sacs (alveoli) where the gas exchange with the capillaries takes place.

The blood flows through the capillaries and gives off the carbon dioxide (CO2) that has formed during the metabolic process. At the same time, it takes in oxygen via the alveoli. The oxygen is transported from the alveoli to the muscles and other organs. The carbon dioxide and other impurities leave our bodies when we breathe out.

Nanoparticles, which are no larger than a virus, can become deposited (trapped) in the cell membranes (walls) of the alveoli. These have a total surface area of around 70 m2 and are highly sensitive to particles and harmful substances. If these substances remain in the respiratory system, they can contribute to the development of emphysema, oedema and other serious illnesses.

The amount of particulates we inhale

If an elite athlete trains for 5 hours a day, sleeps for 8 hours and spends 11 hours doing ordinary everyday activities, he or she can take in approximately 73 m3 of air.

If we assume that normal outdoor air contains around 20 million particles per m3, this means that the elite athlete breathes in 1.4 billion particles which are 0.3 μm in size every day. By comparison, an ordinary person inhales 25 m3 of air per day. This includes 260 million particles that are 0.3 μm in size.

Therefore, the elite athlete takes in 1.14 billion more particles during a day.

Supplementing ventilation systems with air purifiers: Removing particles from the indoor air

Stationary or mobile air purifiers make the ideal complement for existing ventilation systems where the aim is to clean indoor air effectively. Even if the air has been cleaned by the filters in the ventilation system, there are a number of sources of particles and harmful substances inside buildings, as we have described on previous pages.

All of these particles and substances can effectively be trapped by a high-quality air purifier.

CamCleaner™ is a range of patented air purifiers with the most efficient HEPA filters on the market. They can work alone and can be moved to bad air hotspots. They also work as a supplement to existing ventilation systems providing reduced energy costs, a more efficient workplace and a healthier work environment by removing dust, contaminants and harmful particles. When the air is free from particles and dust, employees are protected and productivity levels rise.

You can solve the office air problem by investing in a portable office air cleaner from Camfil:

air cleaners for waiting rooms

City-M Air Cleaners from Camfil are well suited to prevent exposure to odours and workplace pollutants.

These office air cleaners are allergy approved and equipped with particulate and molecular filters to deliver a healthier indoor air quality by removing smells, dust, contaminants and harmful particles in reception areas, corridors and offices. You may spend up to 10 hours a day at work breathing bad indoor air. The result: headaches, nausea, dizziness, irritability, itchy eyes, and respiratory illnesses, among other problems.

Download the Guide to Indoor Air Quality for Elite Athletes here.

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