The power of environmental data for sports applications:
a promising future for performance and health
Sports and GPS applications have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering a variety of features such as performance tracking, route planning and health monitoring. However, few of them incorporate environmental quality data that can have a significant impact on users’ health and performance.
Reading time: 4 minutes
Poor environmental quality affects the performance of athletes
How is environmental data transforming sports applications?
The practice of sports, regardless of its intensity, is recommended because it reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases (cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc.), reduces the risk of being overweight and improves well-being.
Numerous studies demonstrate the growing interest in physical activity and wellness. According to the Global Consumer Insights Survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), 57% of consumers surveyed said they actively seek to improve their health and wellness through exercise.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have established a clear link between air pollution and health problems, making air quality one of the major health and environmental concerns of our century. Every day we inhale about 15,000 liters of air, a figure that can increase further during physical activity, when our breathing speeds up and we typically inhale more air per minute than when we are at rest.
Poor environmental quality affects sports performance
The quality of the environment, such as air quality, pollen levels, UV rays, weather and other factors are key elements to consider in order to optimize the user’s sports experience. That’s why sports and GPS applications need this data to provide a personalized and quality experience to their users.
☁️ The impact of air quality on sports performance
High levels of air pollution can affect the performance of athletes, particularly by affecting breathing. This is because when you exercise outdoors, you breathe in more air than you normally would. If the air quality is poor, you can inhale harmful pollutants such as fine fine particules (PM), ozone (O3) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
This can lead to respiratory problems, airway inflammation, cardiovascular disease and even an increased risk of lung cancer. So it’s important to monitor air quality and adjust your physical activity accordingly.
A sports app that uses air quality data will be able to provide useful information on which routes to avoid or times of day when the air is cleaner.
🌸 The impact of pollen on sports performance
Pollen allergies are very common and can cause sneezing, itching, watery eyes, breathing problems and even asthma in some people.
If you are susceptible to hay fever (or allergic rhinitis), it is important to monitor pollen levels in your area before exercising outdoors.
By incorporating a pollen API, the app can alert users to high pollen levels in their area and warn when levels are lower, allowing them to take extra precautions before exercising.
☀️ The impact of UV on sports performance
UV radiation levels are another important factor to consider, especially for outdoor sports.
Prolonged exposure to UV radiation can lead to skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancer. Therefore, it is important to wear adequate sun protection, choose times of day when UV levels are lower, and wear protective clothing.
Sports applications that use data on UV radiation levels can thus provide useful information on which sunscreen products to use or the recommended duration/time of exposure based on UV levels.
⛅️ The impact of weather on sports performance
Weather conditions, such as temperature, wind and rain, can have a significant impact on exercise performance and safety.
For example, extreme temperatures can lead to dehydration, fatigue and heat stroke, while wind can slow down movement speed and increase travel time.
Therefore, monitoring weather conditions and factoring them into physical activity planning is critical to one’s well-being. The application incorporating weather data can help plan the workout based on the most favorable conditions.
How is environmental data transforming sports applications?
4 ways to use environmental data on a sports application
1️⃣ Route optimization
Environmental data such as air pollution or pollen levels can help users find safer and healthier routes for their workouts. For example, a running app can recommend routes with lower air pollution levels to avoid unnecessary exposure to harmful particles.
2️⃣ Environmental alerts
Sports apps can use environmental alerts to inform users of any potential hazards related to air quality, noise levels, pollen levels, UV rays or weather conditions. In this case, the app could then send a notification to users if air pollution levels are high, advising them to change their route or shorten their workout.
3️⃣ Health and behavioural recommendations
Using Meersens‘ environmental data, sports applications can integrate health and behavioral recommendations based on the user’s profile (health problems, allergies…etc). For example, if a user is sensitive to pollens, the app can recommend exercising at times when levels are lower. Similarly, if weather conditions are extreme, the app can suggest indoor exercise alternatives to avoid any health risks. These personalized recommendations help users maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent environment-related health problems.
4️⃣ Health monitoring
By leveraging environmental data, sports apps have the ability to offer health tracking by generating regular reports (daily, weekly or monthly). These reports allow users to monitor their exposure to air pollution during their outdoor physical activities. With this information, users can adopt healthier workout and lifestyle habits.
Nos API de données environnementales vous intéresse ?
Partager cet article 👇