Poor Air Quality in Gyms Is Causing Fatigue, So You Can Just Blame Your Exercise Exhaustion On That

It turns out that your feelings of fatigue at the gym may be due to more than the fact that you only make it to yoga once a week. A new study from Portugal reveals that air quality in gyms is poor, and it can cause fatigue and brain fog.

The researchers monitored 11 gyms around Lisbon for indoor pollutants and found that most locations had high levels of dust, formaldehyde, and carbon dioxide. The highest concentration of carbon dioxide was found in the studios where group classes take place — ick. This is particularly disconcerting because gym-goers are highly susceptible to pollutants in the air; they are breathing deeply and therefore inhaling whatever is floating around. In high concentrations, these pollutants can cause asthma and other respiratory issues. High levels of carbon dioxide are also detrimental to your performance at the gym, meaning that when a gym’s air is dirty, you won’t get the most out of your workout.

The researchers blame the high levels of the pollutants on cleaning practices, poor ventilation, and the gym patrons themselves who exhale carbon dioxide into the air. Overall, the study found that gyms should increase the efficiency of their air filtration systems and convert to “greener” cleaning agents.

Does this mean that you should forget about going to the gym completely? Unfortunately not — the health benefits of exercising, even in poor air quality, outweigh the health risks of inhaling these indoor pollutants. So for now either run outside or just crack open a window at your gym if you can, and try and forget that you ever read this story.