Wearing Face Masks for Workouts

COVID-19 has altered every aspect of life. Wearing a mask is our reality and something we must take seriously with the increase in the number of cases each day.

There is a lot of controversy surrounding wearing a face mask for workout. For starters, the World Health Organization states that wearing medical masks does not cause CO2 intoxication or oxygen deficiency, a fear for many as gyms open across North America. Yet the WHO website currently does not recommend wearing a mask during exercise, warning against bacteria and breathing problems due to excess moisture. Instead, WHO suggests the better COVID-19 preventive measure is to keep physical distance of at least one meter while exercising.

But ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and comfort. It is not dangerous to wear a face mask as your body will do what is necessary to keep your oxygen and carbon dioxide levels well controlled. In most instances, it is probably safe to wear masks while exercising, depending on the type of workout.

It will take some time to get used to breathing in a mask but it is the safer option.

If you wear a mask, follow these Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do not reuse masks designed for single use.
  • Do sanitize your hands prior to removing your mask.
  • Do not wear your mask on your neck or on your forehead.
  • Do store your mask in a clear plastic bag.
  • Do not have a false sense of security. Be sure to physically distance whenever possible.

Buy the Right Kind of Mask

A good rule of thumb: Look for the same qualities as you look for in a good sports bra. The right kind of mask is one that’s loose-fitting and breathable. For exercise, a reusable, water-resistant mask that’s designed for maximum breathability functions to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets is best. After use, machine-wash and dry.

Be Smart about What Kind of Workouts You’re Doing

As for the actual workout, avoid hot rooms, long stretches of cardio and high-impact jumping. Do quick bursts of sprints or higher impact cardio exercises and then give yourself a break. Give your body time to cool off and acclimate by grabbing some water and fresh air.

Pandemic or not, listening to your body is of the utmost importance. This is especially crucial when you’re exercising while wearing a mask, since there are a number of things that could happen if you find yourself breathing too hard with a mask on. If you suspect you’re pushing too hard, stop. You’ll be better off in the long run—promise.

So, do you wear a mask while working out?

Let us know in comments below.

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