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Breathing is the heart of athletic activity. However, the air we breathe isn’t always what we need to power our activity. Athletes worldwide struggle with environmental issues that actually limit their ability to breath well and perform well, which include cold weather, pollution, pollen, UV rays, microbes, dust, and more. These issues can actually make lungs unable to process air and oxygen at their full capacity, thereby diminishing performance. In order to help athletes overcome their environments, we at NAROO have been researching breathing for the past 2 decades in order to be sure the air that athletes breathe isn’t preventing them from doing their best. Based on proven, tested technology, we provide innovative breathing solutions to protect athletes everywhere.
Because we are also lifelong outdoors people, we make it a priority to talk with athletes and research their needs. Our years of exploration have led us to many technological innovations that help athletes tackle the heat, the cold, and particulates in the air. We constantly seek to answer important questions with technology-based answers.
A mask that helps to filter out particulates in the air so that they are not inhaled can be considered a filtering face mask. These can come with replaceable filters or without. And how can filtering masks help? At NAROO, we have created a filterless series that not only filters dust, pollen, pollution, and other particles as small as 1.7μm (40x smaller than a human hair), but that is reusable and washable so that it can protect airways over and over again.
But is a filtering mask necessary?
According to the American Lung Association, the air people breathe continues to be unhealthy due to issues like pollution, pollen, and dust. The same holds true for a significant portion of Europe’s population where ozone and other particulate matter pose serious health risks. When focusing on athletes, especially on marathon runners and cyclists training near highways and cities, the British Journal of Sports Medicine reports that immediate effects from pollutants can deplete oxygen to tissues, increase heart rate and blood pressure, and make asthma, pulmonary hypertension and cardiovascular disease potential long-term consequences.
A viable solution for these serious pollution and dust effects is an effective filtering face mask like those of the NAROO F-Series. These are made for athletes and their increased respiration rates, outdoor exposure, increased sweating, exposure to heat and cold, and of course, to irritating particulates that can deteriorate performance and health. These masks can filter particles as small as 1.7μm, preventing most harmful particulates from the lungs, allowing for exercise in polluted climes and maximized performance.
“Researchers at McMaster University in Canada…found no concerning signs of hypoxia, or reduced blood oxygen.” NAROO masks are developed for sports people and their increased need for oxygen intake, and allow for easy-breathing along with top-notch filtering capabilities. It is important to wash and clean the masks between each use to clear away particulates and reset the filter for maximum functioning and easy-breathing. No matter an athletes need, whether running with allergy, or a balaclava with a filter, or pollen season allergies, wearing a mask is a helpful solution to deal with environmental struggles.
Shifting from technology specifically designed to tackle hot weather issues to copper-infused yarn and fabric, research proves that the unique antimicrobial properties make it the perfect material for filtering and particulate protection. NAROO weaves copper yarn into the F.U Plus Copper mask, using technology that has been trusted for centuries all over the world. Copper surfaces can kill germs on contact. This process prevents the copper from breaking off and makes the fabric reusable and dependable.
Although the origins of copper fabric aren’t known, its benefits are well-documented. Copper-infused yarn can kill many bacteria, fungi, and viruses upon contact, helping to eliminate any of these that linger on the body. Those bacteria can also cause unpleasant odors during exercise that copper-infused yarn can help to eliminate. What makes the copper so powerful is that it is ionically bonded to the yarn, which means the copper will not flake into particles that can be inhaled and will remain strong over time.
Why choose copper over silver? Both metals can kill bacteria, so why did NAROO choose copper for its technological developments and high-tech face coverings? Silver requires moisture in order to effectively kill bacteria – copper is antimicrobial in wet and dry environments, making it more versatile and better able to serve athletes’ needs.
Not only does the F.U Plus Copper take the utmost advantage of copper’s antimicrobial properties, but it relies on the breathability of the knitted fabric, its moisture-wicking properties, and its functionality in hot and cold weather to create a comfortable, effective face covering for athletes in need of a filtering, antimicrobial mask.
Copper is also great when used in fabric as it helps care for your skin by helping to reduce wrinkles, fine lines, thinning skin and other signs of ageing. It can also be helpful for dry or itchy skin. Paired with the breathability of the mask, the F.U Plus Copper is a multifunctional breathing solution for athletes all over the world across many different environments.
It is common knowledge that exercising in winter can be very uncomfortable. With lower temperatures come the side effects of breathing in cold air. Lungs struggle to warm and humidify cold air, which then can dry out and even damage airways. Common effects of breathing cold air are coughing, burning sensations in the throat and windpipe, dry cough, and difficulty breathing.
In order to combat these winter breathing issues, airways need to be protected so that athletes inhale warmed and humidified air. But are solutions that protect airways safe?
Some of the most famous cold weather face masks for athletes are winter scarves, balaclavas, neck gaiters, to warm and humidify the air they breathe and to keep warm – and they are effective and scientifically proven to be safe. However, these methods also come with some big drawbacks, mainly to do with comfort:
After speaking to winter athletes and researching their needs, NAROO has spent years developing and refining the EX-BONE, an innovative exoskeleton structure that helps warm and humidify air, prevents foggy goggles, and is comfortable. The EX-BONE has undergone several evolutions to become a top-of-the-line ergonomic design that creates a 3D air-warming chamber that simultaneously keeps the mask’s fabric from pressing against the nose and mouth and allowing for easy-breathing, easy-speaking, and comfortable mouth movements. It is found in the Z5H and Z9H balaclava winter masks that are loved by winter athletes all over.
Specifically thinking of the face, ears, and neck, NAROO has created masks with 3D EX-SHADER fabric to cut hot UV rays and the risks of skin ailments. It is an interlocking mesh fabric structure with tightly-knit, net-like holes that is excellent for ventilation and quick-drying properties that make it comfortable to wear in the heat and easy-to-breathe. The structure functions as 3-layers UV protection. Find it in short-and-long-fit masks N0 and N0U.
As sports people, we spend so much time outdoors that it’s easy to forget how powerful and harmful the sun can be in spite of the temperature. When thinking of the best mask for hot weather and UV protection, sometimes the thought of using a face cover in the heat can be difficult. But that is because many masks and UV shields lack a key component: breathability. If an outdoor mask is breathable, then not only will it allow you to intake the proper amount of oxygen, but it will also protect your skin from UV rays.
It means seriously reducing their chances of getting skin cancer. Ultraviolet radiation is thought to be one of the biggest risk factors for skin cancers and that exposure is high during intensive training regiments. Even sweating can increase the photosensitivity of the skin and the likelihood of receiving sunburns.
One of the issues facing athletes in warmer, more humid climates is staying cool. UV burns and heat exhaustion are real dangers that can cause weakness and dizziness, hindering performance and the ability to exercise. This is why NAROO uses AQUA-X, a multifunctional nylon yarn fabric that provides moisture management and helps to prevent heat exhaustion. Athletes have long used cooling neck gaiters or neck coolers to keep cool in the summer as well as breathable masks. They rely on moisture. But how?
With AQUA-X technology, masks like the NAROO N1 and and the NAROO N1s efficiently manage moisture through a process called evaporative cooling that relies on thermal effusivity. For example, when a person wears the lightweight breathable face mask N1 and sweats, thermal effusivity allows the heat from the skin and sweat to be transferred to the fabric, which then creates a feeling of freshness. Another function of the AQUA-X that creates a feeling of freshness is its ability to evaporate the perspiration from the skin to the fabric, and from the fabric to the air in an effective moisture-wicking process.
All year round people use bandanas, neck gaiters, tubulars and other coverings to help them deal with the heat and sun, the cold and wind, humidity and sweating, dust and sand. These coverings are mostly intended to keep necks, faces, and heads warm, dry, and protected from the sun and elements.
Neck gaiters and their variants are handy as they are versatile and can help athletes tackle any elemental condition. People with long hair can use them to put their hair up. Athletes in summer can mop up sweat. Wintertime enthusiasts can protect their faces, necks, and ears from the wind chill.
NAROO’s X-Series is a line of breathable face masks made with X-FIBER, an elastic material with honeycomb knitting that enhances all of the typical characteristics of the long-used neck gaiters, balaclavas, ski masks, and warm and cold weather masks for running, cycling, and other sports. X-FIBER maintains the masks’ elasticity constant and is designed to be stretched and adjusted to each individual face and its needs. Breathable mesh face masks like the X1 and X3F come equipped with UV protection and windshield capabilities perfect for all-weather instances. They also prevent pesky summer insects and dust particles from flying into noses and mouths. For crueller winters, the X-FIBER in the X9 and X5H maintains warmth and fit while also wicking away moisture to maintain crucial body temperature. It also helps to warm the air before it hits the lungs, which prevents coughing, wheezing, and tightness in the chest.
These are only a few of the questions that NAROO strives to answer. We constantly communicate with athletes, stay updated with the latest research, and endeavor to innovate so that athletes are never hindered by their environments. For the past 20 years, NAROO has been inspired by the world’s amazing athletes and the air they breathe. As the world changes, NAROO too will change and adapt to always be sure we are delivering the latest, most effective technology.
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