With the increasing need for clean air, especially in urban environments, we are witnessing a rise in the demand—and need—for new, innovative technologies. The way we breathe, and the quality of the air we breathe affects our respiratory health and exercise in the short and long-term. In this piece, we take a look at how NAROO’s MICRONET™ filtering fabric technology protects and benefits athletes in new, more efficient ways.
The effects of a face cover on breathing have been a topic of hot debate, with Amy Norton, HealthDay Reporter, writing that fear-mongering rumors have been “…fueled in part by social media.” Norton also shares that medical authorities—including the World Health Organization and the American Lung Association—have already debunked those myths. Research shows that face masks do not reduce oxygen supplies, cause carbon dioxide “intoxication”, or weaken the immune system.
But what about professional and semi-professional athletes’ needs in particular? According to research done by the University of Saskatchewan, wearing a mask has “… no discernable detrimental effect on blood or muscle oxygenation, and exercise performance in young, healthy participants.” Face coverings are not only safe to use; they are an extra layer of security between us and harmful substances such as pollen, pollution, dust, insects, microbes, and more.
Now that we’ve cleared that worry, let’s talk about the two major enemies of your lungs, pollen and pollution.
Around 22% of the world population suffers from pollen allergies, while the prevalence of rhinitis in athletes ranges between 27% and 74%. Pollen allergies lead to nose congestion, watery eyes, and other issues which affect an athlete’s health, comfort, and their athletic performance.
Research also shows that the blockade of histamine receptors delivered by allergy medicine leads to exercise capacity, whole-body glycemic control, and vascular function being blunted.
While we tend to connect images of mask usage and air pollution to Asian countries, the 2021 ‘State of the Air’ report by the American Lung Association shows that “more than 40% of Americans—over 135 million people—are living in places with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution”. Europe is no stranger to these issues as well, with about 90% of those living in its cities exposed to pollutants at concentrations higher than the air quality levels deemed harmful to health.
These pollutants not only affect athletic performance, but they can lead to short-term and long-term health problems for athletes, such as upper and lower airway dysfunction, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and more, while also significantly increasing the risk of a heart attack.
We already know that you don’t necessarily need a dedicated air pollution mask or a pollen mask to keep safe. Face coverings such as single-use surgical masks provenly block many inhaled airborne allergens, while even simple cloth masks can help relieve allergy symptoms. But what about your needs as an athlete, which go beyond protection and comfort? Running with an allergy is less than comfortable, after all. In fact, it can be a detriment to performance.
The NAROO MICRONET™ filtering masks block out the majority of particles as small as 1.7μm (40x smaller than a human hair). Aside from their solid protective qualities, however, all NAROO masks using MICRONET™ technology offer several other key benefits to an athlete.
The NAROO products in which the MICRONET™ filtering technology can be found are in the F-Series: the F5, F5s, F1s, F3H, F3F, F.U Plus, and F.U Plus Copper series. The beauty of our filtering fabric is that it provides a semi-professional or professional athlete with all the benefits of different filters and mask types in just one thin, comfortable, and versatile material. But don’t just take our word for it. Take a look at some of the reviews coming in by those who have tried our masks before you go.
The MICRONET filter fabric blocks pollen as well, giving this mask an added benefit for hay fever sufferers. — Nick Harris-Fry, Coachmag™
When they say breathable, they really mean breathable! — Jovi Figueroa, Metro.Style
This is effective on both pollen and dust, but will still keep out other harmful airborne pathogens such as coronavirus, even after 100 washes. — James Bickerstaff, OriGym
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