Characterization of Aerosol Generation during Various Intensities of Exercise.

Characterization of aerosol generation during exercise can inform development of safety recommendations in the face of COVID-19.Does exercise at various intensities produce aerosols in significant quantities?In this experimental study subjects were 8 healthy volunteers (6 males, 2 females) 20-63 years of age. The 20-minute test protocol with 5 minutes rest, 4 x 3-minute stages of exercise at 25, 50, 75, and 100% of age-predicted heart rate reserve, and 3 minutes active recovery was performed in a clean, controlled environment. Aerosols were measured by four particle counters - one Fluke 985 device measuring particles 0.3-10.0μm placed anterior and three P-Trak 8525 devices measuring particles 0.02-1.0μm placed anterior, to the side, and back of the subject.Age averaged 41 ± 14 years. Peak heart rate was 173 ± 17 bpm (97% predicted), peak VO2 33.9 ± 7.5 mL/kg/min, peak RER 1.22 ± 0.10. Maximal ventilation averaged 120 ± 23 L/min while cumulative ventilation reached 990 ± 192 L. Concentrations increased exponentially from start to 20 minutes (geometric mean ± geometric standard deviation particles/liter): Fluke > 0.3μm = 66 ± 1.8 → 1605 ± 3.8; 0.3-1.0μm = 35 ± 2.2 → 1095 ± 4.6; Fluke 1.0-5.0μm = 21 ± 2.0 → 358 ± 2.3; P-Trak anterior = 637 ± 2.3 → 5148 ± 3.0; P-Trak side = 708 ± 2.7 → 6844 ± 2.7; P-Track back = 519 ± 3.1 → 5853 ± 2.8. All increases were significant at P


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Authors: Pavol Sajgalik, Andres Garzona-Navas, Ibolya Csécs, J Wells Askew, Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, Alexander S Niven, Bruce D Johnson, Thomas G Allison