A recent news story in The Mirror newspaper has suggested that gyms could make you ill due to viruses and other contaminants being present in the air and being moved around by air conditioning. 361 Degrees looked into this claim and asked our HVAC experts if it always has to be a “dirty experience” when it comes to gyms and fitness centres.
What The Mirror Said
The report contained the following statement from leading microbiologist Dr Laura Bowater:
“Viruses and bacteria hang around and stay as droplets in the air.
“If you sneeze in a crowded gym, these tiny droplets become a viral particle that others can breathe in.
“And if there are viruses and bacteria in the droplets in the air, then they are made even worse in the gym because of factors like the fans and air conditioning units that are constantly running to stop those working-out overheating."
Asking the HVAC experts
361 Degrees' Servicing and Maintenance Consultant Ronny Reeves and Technical Consultant Ian Morren discussed Dr Bowater’s assessment and came to the following conclusion:
The statements made by Dr Laura Bowater are entirely true.
However, what is often overlooked is how essential it is to combine an air conditioning system with a sufficient supply of fresh-air ventilation. Air conditioning is essential to maintain a comfortable temperature, but the air conditioning does not improve the quality of the air. An effective ventilation system in gymnasiums is absolutely critical as it removes stale, bacteria laden air and replaces it with fresh treated air from outside. Additional filtration and air treatment methods can be used to further reduce the issues which Dr Bowater describes.
Apart from the issues outlined, it should be clear that ventilation is an essential component of any activity space. Increased respiration produces high levels of CO2 and depletes oxygen in the room. If this oxygen is not replaced and the CO2 removed, it is a logical conclusion that the levels of performance will decrease.
If you are choosing a local gym, don’t be afraid to question gym staff to ensure you’ll be training in a well-ventilated space. It will make a significant difference to your training experience.
A degree further
361 Degrees have many years’ experience in the design and installation of effective ventilation systems for gymnasiums. We can help you provide effective ventilation in your gymnasium to increase customer satisfaction and retention.
If you would like to find out more then please fill in our enquiry form, or call us on 0845 2221 361.