Effects of Exercise in Polluted Air on the Aerobic Power, Serum Lactate Level and Cell Blood Count of Active Individuals

Mehdi Kargarfard, Parinaz Poursafa, Saber Rezanejad, Firouzeh Mousavinasab


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of exercise on the aerobic power, serum lactate level, and cell blood count among active individuals in the environments with similar climatic characteristics differing in their level of air pollution.

Methods: This trial comprised 20 volunteer students of Physical education in The University of Isfahan, Iran. Two places with the same climate (altitude, temperature, and humidity), but low and high level of air pollutants air were selected in Isfahan, Iran. Participants underwent a field Cooper test with a 12-minute run for fitness assessment. Then the aerobic power, serum lactate, and cell blood counts were measured and compared between the two areas.

Results: The study participants had a mean (SD) age of 21.70 (2.10) years and body mass index (BMI) of 24.44 (2.32) Kg/m2. We found a significant decrease in mean Vo2 max, red blood cell count, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and mean corpuscular hemoglobin, as well as significant increase in mean lactate level, white blood cell count and mean corpuscular volume in the higher-polluted than in the lower-polluted area. No significant difference was documented for other parameters as platelet counts or maximum heart rate.

Conclusions: Exercise in high-polluted air resulted in a significant reduction in the performance at submaximal levels of physical exertion. Therefore, the acute exposure to polluted air may cause a significant reduction in the performance of active individuals. The clinical importance of these findings should be assessed in longitudinal studies.

Keywords: Air pollution, Aerobic power, Lactate, Active individuals.

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