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Advice On How to Wear a Mask While Working Out

Wearing a mask is one method of slowing the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19. However, many people regard a mask as a potential impediment to exercise, particularly when away from home.

Whether you’re already used to wearing a mask while exercising or are wary of doing so, these questions can help you determine the safest way to stay active.

This information is for adults who can self-monitor themselves during exercise:

Is using A Mask While Working Out Safe?

Wearing a mask while working out is safe. According to new research, wearing a mask during moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity has no discernible impact on your heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, oxygen level, or time until exhaustion.

Exists a preferred type of mask that I should wear depending on the activity?
Usually, cloth masks or masks made of a material that wicks away moisture, like polyester, work well. The thickness of the mask material should be no more than two layers. Unfortunately, due to sweat and the increased exhalation that occurs during exercise, surgical masks may become damaged.

The use of surgical or N95 respirators has been found to be safe, with little impact on key performance indicators like heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation (SO2) during aerobic exercise, aside from the mask breakdown.

Previous studies of wearing N95 respirators while active have shown that there can be changes in body temperature, increased breath resistance and some discomfort. While not dangerous or affecting overall performance, these responses should be considered when choosing the style of mask that is right for you and your needs.

Additionally, you might want to think about keeping an extra mask on hand to swap out a damp mask. Carrying a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you is a great way to maintain good hand hygiene while changing masks.

Will Wearing A Mask Affect My Exercise Performance?
No. Surgical masks and cloth masks have no impact on time to exhaustion or peak power, according to research.

Who Should Not Use A Mask While Exercising?
It is safe to wear a mask while exercising for most people. However, if you have a chronic lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, mesothelioma or pulmonary hypertension, talk with your health care provider before attempting any physical activity while wearing a mask.

What Should Happen When Exercising With a Mask On?
When wearing a mask while working out for the first time, you might feel awkward or uncomfortable. This is normal and might be comparable to how you felt when you wore a mask to work, school, or a store. These emotions ought to fade with time. Your anaerobic and aerobic performance will be the same overall.

If you start to feel any of these symptoms while exercising, stop and take a break until they subside:
Overall discomfort

Significant shortness of breath
Muscular weakness

If your symptoms persist or get worse, stop what you’re doing. Whenever possible, get medical attention.