According to the World Health Organisation (yeah, we work hard to quote credible sources here :), lung and pulmonary diseases are among the main causes of death worldwide (second only to heart diseases and strokes). Almost 9 million people die every year due to some sort of pulmonary complications. Just take a minute to let that sink... 9 million people is equal to the whole population of Austria!
Well, no wonder air pollution has become a massive issue worldwide, and more so in big cities. In Asia, the use of facial masks has been part of the scenery for many years and this trend is now getting more traction in Western cities such as London and New York. In London, tackling air pollution has been one of the main topics in the agenda of mayor Sadiq Khan, who has championed stricter legislation to curb the number of petrol and diesel cars in the city. The debate has already yielded great results also in the private sector, such as Uber's plan to have only electric and hybrid cars serving their customers by the end of 2019.
9 million people die of lung-related diseases every year :(
Road transport is indeed the main cause of air pollution in towns and cities. Yes, this is the air that you and I breathe every time you get out of the house to go to work or to the shops. Petrol and diesel vehicles release a lot of nitrogen dioxide in the air which irritate and inflame the lining of your airways, causing a flare-up of asthma or COPD and symptoms such as coughing and difficulty breathing. This in turn, can make you more susceptible to a respiratory infection or to suffer from allergies (such as hay fever as a result of too much pollen in the air).
It's a nasty persistent aggression to our bodies which builds up over the course of our lives and leads to complications in our respiratory system. We also need to remember that air (oxygen) is an essential fuel for our body (together with food and water) and breathing toxic air saps your levels of energy on your day-to-day, increasing fatigue, inflammation and even damaging your performance in sports.
Ever wondered why you come back so energised from a holiday in the countryside or by the beach? You will notice that if you spend the same time in a big city, your energy levels are just not the same after your holiday.
Unfortunately, most of us don't have the luxury of spending our days in a nice countryside town breathing pure air whenever we want. So what can you do to prevent this harm? There are basically two key areas that you can action: strengthen your lungs and improve the quality of the air you breathe.
Strengthening your lungs and improving the quality of the air you breathe will have a huge impact in your energy levels :)
The first can be achieved with aerobic exercise - run, cycle, swim (there's never been anything better for the lungs than swimming!). The other is to adapt to your environment mostly by using filters. A ventilation system at home that uses replaceable mesh filters is a great investment to ensure a great night of sleep. Allow your rooms to be ventilated through windows that face some green area (your back garden, a park or square, trees) and if facing a road, try to avoid opening them during busy traffic hours. When you step out of the house, things become a little more difficult to control though. In Asia, the facial mask has been the main choice for most urban dwellers and there are now some trendy ones with colours and patterns to compound your look (check our collection!). But my favourite is the recently launched invisible nasal filter which are so practical and easy to use on a daily basis.
Ready to start feeling better and more energised? Start slowly and you'll see that making your air just a little bit cleaner will have a big impact in your day to day. I'm sure this will motivate you to continue seeking a more sustainable life - for the planet and for your body!