Run Clean: Fitness + the Environment

By Alex Hoffmann on April, 20 2020

Topics

  • Select a Topic

Stay up to date

Back to main Blog
Alex Hoffmann

Dr. Alex Hoffmann is the President of the College of Exercise Science. He earned a doctorate in Sports Management from the United States Sports Academy, a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton, and a bachelor's degree in exercise science from Central College. Prior to his career in academia, Dr. Hoffmann worked as Master Fitness Trainer course instructor for the United States Army, and as a strength and conditioning coach, personal trainer, and nutritionist.

At the College of Exercise Science, we have a mission of creating a stronger, healthier world. ‘Health’ is a spectrum that includes physical, emotional, cognitive, fiscal, social, and environmental health markers. All of these health markers are interrelated; improvement in one marker tends to have a positive impact on the others!

So how, exactly, are these health markers interrelated?

Need some proof of how these health markers are interrelated? Take a look at the current COVID-19 mortality rates. A recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health showed that exposure to just a single-unit increase in particle pollution in the years before the COVID-19 outbreak is associated with a 15% increase in the death rate from COVID-19 (2). This finding isn’t that surprising, considering it was already well established that a small increase in particle exposure resulting from poor air quality over a 15- to 20-year period leads to an increased risk of death from all causes. 

 

Point taken, but I’m not worried by mortality. I care about physical performance.

Air pollution doesn’t just impact mortality rates, it also impacts physical performance. In fact, a study investigating physical performance of soccer players found that the physical performance of soccer players decreased in matches that took place under conditions where there was a high concentration of particle matter in the air (1). 

 

The findings from these studies are not particularly shocking. However, they do serve as a nice reminder that peak physical health and conditioning cannot be achieved if the environment that we live in isn’t in peak condition also. This understanding is particularly important, as according to the World Health Organization, 91% of the world’s population live in areas with above average levels of air pollution.

 

Nice studies – but what should I do with this information?

I know, caring for the health of the planet in addition to caring for the physical wellbeing of yourself and your clients sounds like a monumental task. Fortunately, leading a physically healthy lifestyle directly corresponds to environmentally sustainable practices. Just check out how:

  1. A commitment to physical wellbeing encompasses having better eating habits. Better eating habits include eating less processed foods and instead opting for more fresh produce, which is oftentimes locally grown. Eating fresh produce that is locally grown reduces carbon emissions because the product is not traveling across the country in a truck. Less wrapping is also used on fresh produce which leads to less plastic waste.
  2. A commitment to physical wellbeing generally means that, when given the opportunity, you will walk or cycle as your mode of commute as opposed to driving a vehicle. This reduces carbon emissions.
  3. An improvement in physical conditioning leads to the body being able to better regulate temperature. This, in turn, leads to a reduced need to run air conditioning during the summer months, ultimately leading to reduced carbon emissions.

 

Let’s do this!

Our immune health, emotional health, fiscal health, and, yes, even our physical performance are all impacted by the health of the planet. As we are all united in our quest to build a stronger, healthier world, I hope that you take some time on this Earth Day to reflect on the small actions that you can take to make this planet a healthier place to live, breath, work, play, and learn on.

 

References

  1. Lichter, A., Pestel, N., & Sommer, E. (2017). Productivity effects of air pollution: Evidence from professional soccer. Labour Economics, 48, 54–66.
  2. Wu, X., Nethery, R. C., Sabath, B. M., Braun, D., & Dominici, F. (2020). Exposure to air pollution and COVID-19 mortality in the United States.
Back to main Blog
Alex Hoffmann

Dr. Alex Hoffmann is the President of the College of Exercise Science. He earned a doctorate in Sports Management from the United States Sports Academy, a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton, and a bachelor's degree in exercise science from Central College. Prior to his career in academia, Dr. Hoffmann worked as Master Fitness Trainer course instructor for the United States Army, and as a strength and conditioning coach, personal trainer, and nutritionist.

Submit a Comment

Stay up to date