Wearing a Mask During Your Workout
Back in September, gyms were allowed to reopen at 75% capacity. This announcement made a lot of us who were eager to start exercising very happy.
However, the reopening measures included the required use of face masks during workouts. This action raised many concerns among gym members.
Is wearing a mask during your workout a good idea?
Here we will address some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the use of face masks during your workout.
Why Wearing a Mask is Necessary?
Breathing heavier while exercising is almost inevitable. Yet this action increases the risk of viruses aerosolizing and spreading to others more quickly.
Therefore, using a mask is an effective way to slow the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19 and the flu.
Is It Safe to Wear a Mask While Exercising?
Yes, it is. However, experts recommend keeping your workout intensity at low to moderate and avoid vigorous exercise while wearing a mask.
The reason is that face masks decrease airflow, affecting your breathing and your body’s natural ability to regulate its temperature.
Suppose you have a preexisting condition and plan to train regularly at a gym. In that case, we recommend you speak to your doctor. Your physician can make recommendations for your specific condition and health history.
What Type of Mask Is Best?
Masks made of moisture-wicking materials such as cotton or polyester blends are best for exercising as they can absorb the sweat. Make sure your mask material is not more than two layers thick.
Avoid using paper or surgical masks as they can quickly breakdown due to the sweat or heavy breathing during exercise.
The CDC guidelines discourage the use of masks with exhalation valves or vents as these don’t prevent the spread of the virus
Additionally, N95 masks are not suitable for exercise routines as they can increase heat and humidity levels and increase breath resistance and overall discomfort in athletes.
It’s a good idea to carry spare masks with you so you can change them once they become damp.
Is It Necessary to Wear a Face Mask If You Are Exercising Outdoors?
Wearing a face mask while you exercise out in the open is unnecessary if you can maintain a safe physical distance from other people who don’t live with you.
However, if you are training with a team or running in a crowded street or park, then yes, we recommend you wear a mask to help prevent the spread of viruses.
What to Expect
While face masks help reduce the chances of spreading viral illnesses, they also affect how our bodies react to exercise.
Most people report experiencing an increase in heart rate while exercising with a mask. This increase in heart rate can increase the exertion rate and decrease performance during aerobic exercise and resistance training.
Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.
When to Seek Medical Attention
When exercising with a mask, beware of these warning signs:
- Extreme or Unusual Fatigue
- Shortness of Breath That Does Not Improve During Rest Periods
- Muscular Weakness
- Overall Discomfort
If you experience any of the above symptoms, try taking a break. If you notice the symptoms don’t subside or worsen, come to the nearest Altus Emergency Centers immediately for an evaluation.
Altus Emergency Centers encourages everyone to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise. However, during these challenging times, adjustments are required.
We urge everyone to adhere to health officials’ recommendations, including using a mask while exercising and maintaining physical distance when possible.