How to Work Out When Air Pollution is Bad

Guest blog post by Luke Douglas from

No matter if you’re a regular gym rat or if you prefer to have a private workout session at home, you must know that you’re surrounded by all kinds of indoor air pollution. As a matter of fact, on average, interior air is a few times more polluted with chemicals than outdoor air (oftentimes even 10 times more toxic!) So, how can you be sure you’re working out in a clean environment that will not slow down your fitness progress and make intense workouts even harder? Here are a few tricks that can help.


Know when to work out

Air quality decreases as the temperatures get higher. So, just by conducting your workout in the morning or evening when the indoor temperatures are lower, you can avoid some of the negative effects of midday air pollution.

Open the windows

If you have a habit of working out at home, try to let some fresh air inside. Just by cracking one of your windows open, you’ll be able to improve oxygen levels in your environment, provide much-needed ventilation and air circulation and have an overall smoother workout. And don’t worry about the cold air lowering the temperature of your home! As long as there’s no draft, a colder environment will prevent overheating and ensure a more comfortable workout session.

Get an air purifier

A quality air filtration system can remove not only airborne dust particles, allergy triggers and other chemicals, but also rid your environment of smoke, gas and various odors. Today, there are so many air purifiers on the market that choosing a single one can be quite overwhelming. Luckily, you can turn to the Internet and check out the best air purifier reviews that will help you pick out the best model for your needs. They are rating products using several parameters like air flow, efficiency, consumer feedback and usability, and are easy to read even if you don’t know anything about air purifiers! However, no matter the device you opt for, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s user guide and replace the filters when needed!

Warm up your lungs

Always have an effective warm-up protocol before you start your actual workout. A good warm-up helps ward off the decline in respiratory system function that often comes with exercising in polluted environments. There are plenty of great warm up tutorials online that can help not only with your breathing but with injury prevention as well!

Reduce workout time

If you know you can’t do anything to reduce the air pollution at your gym or at home, try this trick—reduce exposure to pollution! When you’re working out, you inhale more air than in resting stage, which means you let more toxins into your body. However, if you stick to shorter workout sessions with high intensity, you will minimize the overall exposure to pollution. Plus, research shows that short high-intensity training burns more fat, normalizes your appetite and yields better results than slow and long workout sessions! Believe it or not, you only need a bit more than 10 minutes to conduct a full and effective workout!

Get good gear

Do what outdoor runners and cyclists do and wear a filtration mask during your workouts, especially when you’re treading the mill or riding your stationary bike. You’ll not even notice the mask during these exercises, but you will definitely notice the improvement in “pollution nausea”. It might not be very stylish, but who cares! It’s your health we’re talking about!

Avoid cleaning right before your workout

Store-bought cleaners contain various chemicals that can reduce air quality in your home. Vacuuming, dusting and using air fresheners can also kick a lot of allergens and toxic solutions into your air. So, try to move your early workout all the way until the evening if you just cleaned in the morning.

Drink and eat the right things


Water helps flush out toxins that accumulate during your workout in polluted areas. Perspiration during workouts can rid your body of a lot of precious water, so make sure to fill up after every session. Another thing you can do is help your body with certain foods rich with antioxidants. Increase your consumption of pomegranate, blueberries, tomatoes, kale and other antioxidant-rich foods that fight free radicals or consult your doctor and ask for supplements.

Once you implement all of these tricks to your workouts, you’ll not only feel a lot better during and after your workout but also improve your overall health! So, exercise smart and stay toxin-free!