Exercise and Face Coverings: Is it safe?

As the COVID-19 pandemic, including new, more transmissible strains, continues to spread, health officials stress the necessity of using masks or fabric face coverings indoors and even in busy outdoor situations. Given the documented transmission of COVID-19, masks can be a significant technique for reducing the spread of the virus within the population.

Masking norms and regulations continue to develop all around the world. Individuals must continue to be cautious and courteous of others as gyms open and close or capacity restrictions drop.

If you exercise regularly and are concerned about whether or not it is safe to exercise while wearing a mask, this article will provide you with a detailed answer.

Is it safe to wear a face mask during exercise?

The short answer? Yes.

According to research, wearing a mask while exercising will help in lowering the chance of catching or spreading COVID-19. At the same time, doing so is safe for healthy people. Individuals, should, however, begin exercising at a lesser intensity to become acclimated to wearing a face covering before returning to their normal intensity levels.

Subjects in one study thought they had less airflow when exercising while wearing a mask, but the results indicated no difference in blood, tissue, or muscle oxygenation levels. This might be due to psychological reasons such as feeling claustrophobic or anticipating reduced airflow, resulting in a greater rating of perceived effort (RPE).

Why you should wear a mask while exercising

Particles are released into the air when we breathe, speak, cough, or sneeze. During exercise, the size, velocity, and direction of these particles changes as you use your lungs more aggressively to breathe. Researchers recommend that people wear masks when exercising inside, especially if they are breathing more forcibly as a result of the activity.

It’s a good idea to have a dry replacement or to try utilizing more sweat-resistant masks if a mask or face covering gets wet with respiratory droplets or perspiration. As compared to medical masks, which tend to come apart when wet or sweaty, masks made of polyester or silk are more resistant to sweat.

The bottom-line

Universal masking practices at fitness centers can help prevent future lockdowns, especially when paired with other interventions like social distance, frequent handwashing, and good ventilation systems. Others may feel more comfortable returning to public workout venues if all of us do our part to wear masks!

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