Running and Physical Activity in an Air-Polluted Environment: The Biomechanical and Musculoskeletal Protocol for a Prospective Cohort Study 4HAIE (Healthy Aging in Industrial Environment-Program 4)

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Dec 7;17(23):9142. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17239142.


Far too little attention has been paid to health effects of air pollution and physical (in)activity on musculoskeletal health. The purpose of the Healthy aging in industrial environment study (4HAIE) is to investigate the potential impact of physical activity in highly polluted air on musculoskeletal health. A total of 1500 active runners and inactive controls aged 18-65 will be recruited. The sample will be recruited using quota sampling based on location (the most air-polluted region in EU and a control region), age, sex, and activity status. Participants will complete online questionnaires and undergo a two-day baseline laboratory assessment, including biomechanical, physiological, psychological testing, and magnetic resonance imaging. Throughout one-year, physical activity data will be collected through Fitbit monitors, along with data regarding the incidence of injuries, air pollution, psychological factors, and behavior collected through a custom developed mobile application. Herein, we introduce a biomechanical and musculoskeletal protocol to investigate musculoskeletal and neuro-mechanical health in this 4HAIE cohort, including a design for controlling for physiological and psychological injury factors. In the current ongoing project, we hypothesize that there will be interactions of environmental, biomechanical, physiological, and psychosocial variables and that these interactions will cause musculoskeletal diseases/protection.

Keywords: ACL; MRI; achilles tendon; ankle; cartilage; environment; knee; running; walking cutting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Pollution*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Healthy Aging*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Running*
  • Young Adult