What Does Poor Air Pollution Have to do With My Kid Playing Sports?

What Does Poor Air Pollution Have to do With My Kid Playing Sports?

Sports and fitness activities are absolutely vital for a healthy body and mind. Therefore it is very important that little kids are introduced to sports from a very early stage so that they become aware of the benefits of a sound mind and body. It is now a well-known fact that well-regulated kids’ health which can be achieved through sports practice can invariably help them to have a rewarding life in all spheres. As parents, you can introduce your child to various sports activities like cricket, basketball, swimming, running, cycling, football, hockey and baseball which in turn can help to enhance physical and mental health in effective ways.

The problem of air pollution

Whether it is the summer days or the winter, parents simply love to have their kids in a lot of sporting activities which in turn can keep them healthy. However, in recent times, there has been a growing concern regarding outdoor air pollution which can eventually have far-reaching negative impacts on kids’ health. Typically during sports and fitness activities, people tend to breathe much faster and therefore have a higher need for oxygen. However, such faster breathing can also lead to a greater intake of pollutants if the air is filthy. For this reason, it is very important that you must make sure that your kids always have access to pure air quality. Polluted air can actually do more harm than good and make it impossible for the kids to have a sound and healthy body.

Impact of air pollution on kids’ health

Over the last decade or so, it has been found that more than a whopping 90% of children all across the world have been exposed to highly polluted air which has led to major health issues for many of them. Even now, the risks associated with air pollution among kids are tremendously high. While it is true that air pollution affects men and women of all age groups intensely, the kids are mainly affected as their lungs are especially vulnerable to the pollutants. The inner organs of children are still in their developmental stages which means that the air pollutants are capable of doing more harm to them than they can to adults. Additionally, young kids tend to breathe in more amounts of air compared to their overall body weight. For this reason, they should not be exposed to polluted air at all.

“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes,”

Says, Greta Thunberg, Teen Environmental Activist.

Outdoor sports have become rather risky in recent years due to excessive levels of air pollution. Children especially form a serious risk group for getting affected by air pollution. Here is a look at the various ill effects that may result from exposure to poor air quality.

  • The neurological development of children and little kids can be seriously affected due to exposure to poor air quality. This can lead to improper mental development and compromised motor development which can also negatively impact cognitive abilities.    
  • The lung functions can get badly affected even under low levels of pollutants
  • Aggravated symptoms of asthma can be seen in the affected children.    
  • Pollution can also lead to an irregular heartbeat which can give rise to a range of other health problems.
  • Increased respiratory symptoms, such as airway irritation, coughing, airway inflammations along with difficulty in breathing can be seen.        

Air pollution can not only make it difficult for them to pursue sports as they grow up, but it can also severely minimize their cognitive and learning abilities. Most medical practitioners are clearly aware of the harmful impact of air pollution on the mental health of the children. Learning and understanding of concepts require proper neural connections in the brain as well as their proper functional effectiveness which can help a person in grasping and relating various concepts. Exposure to pollution can actually make it difficult for the brain to grasp complex concepts and thus make learning difficult. Airborne pollutants can also lead to allergy symptoms and asthma along with other types of respiratory conditions which in turn can cause deficiency of mental focus and concentration. Asthma can also lead to school absenteeism on a frequent basis.

Sources of outdoor air pollution

When you are looking to excel in various aspects of parenting, it is important that you know about the various ways in which your children may get affected by air pollution. Only in this way you can preserve their health and fitness for many years to come.

Small kids may experience air pollution in numerous ways. They may breathe in polluted air during a game of football or basketball while riding the bike to or from school, sports activities, after-school outdoor activities and during recess. If there is a case of heavy smog or wildfire smoke, such levels of exposure are going to be much higher than usual. VOCs or volatile organic compounds and fine particles or particulate matters are two of the main forms of airborne pollutants which can impact children in dangerous ways.

The particulate matters are comprised of numerous microscopic liquid droplets and solid particles which are extremely minute in their sizes and can be inhaled pretty easily. Regular exposure to such airborne particles invariably leads to health issues as they get immersed in the lungs and the bloodstream. The VOC emissions are basically carbon-based gases which can lead to irritations of the eyes, throat, and nose. Children can also be exposed to pollen, which can lead to respiratory problems and allergic symptoms. Additional symptoms of such exposure to irritants may lead to difficulty in breathing, fatigue as well as chronic health conditions which can give rise to asthma. Advanced complications of exposure to air pollutants include damage to the central nervous system and the liver.

Measure AQI & Use Pollution Protection Aid

In order to make sure that your kids can indulge in youth sports activities without any hint of worry, it is important that you take steps to measure the air quality index which can determine the level of air pollution in any given area. Also known as AQI, air quality index is a measuring factor which can help people to measure changes in the air quality. It can also help to determine if there is any presence of pollutants in the air. A number of colors are used to determine the AQI levels. These include green, yellow, orange, red, purple and maroon. By measuring the levels of air pollution, it is possible for you as a parent to make sure that your children are always safe from the problems of pollution.

While it is necessary that your children regularly participate in kids’ sports, it is also important that you protect them from the harmful effects of air pollution. Careful monitoring of the AQI index is going to make it a lot easier for you to make sure that your children are always safe from harmful air pollutants. Additionally, you can learn about the local air pollution levels from official sources that regularly measure them. If there is an instance of smog or wildfire, then it is important that you keep your kids inside for the time being. You can also ask your children to use special respiration masks to ensure better protection from air pollution.

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