How much damage to the health does breathing unfiltered air when biking or running do?
It’s hard to say as there’s no reliable studies of the health implications of air quality in larger Chinese cities. Some compare it to smoking, but I can’t imagine the damage to your lungs is quite the same.
Personally, I don’t much like wearing a mask. I think any active individual that uses one finds it in some way annoying or at least frustrating. It’s no fun being required to strap something to your face as a preventative health measure in trying to do something you enjoy like running or biking.
I’ve got sensitive lungs and when air quality is bad I get chest congestion and discomfort. I wake up with phlegm in my chest and during bad air stretches I have a perpetual cough. The goop I cough up also takes on a lovely, unnatural greyish tint.
But the benefits of a mask are there and outweigh the annoyance. A mask designed to be used in activity makes a huge help too. A lot of masks feel like you’ve stuck a shoe on your face. Respro on the other hand has a large filter area and a neoprene shell that wicks sweat and keeps the filter in the right place. Exhaling’s a breeze (pun intended) because of a pair of one-way valves. The best part is I can go for a long ride even if the air’s absolute shit and have no issues.
It’s like brushing my teeth really. It’s a nuisance to remember to do it twice a day, but the overarching idea of having teeth when I’m older is worth it. Figure I ought to take care of my lungs too.