Aug 08, 2020 / by Ann-Marie Giglio / No Comments

Are masks safe to wear?  Can you really wear one while working out?

First of all, let’s be clear. Most people are only wearing masks for an hour–or less–at a time and they can definitely breathe as they sit in a waiting room, stand in a line, or walk through a store. (I’m not talking about health care workers or anyone else wearing a medical-grade mask for 8-12 hours a day.  That’s NOT most people.)

However, if you are doing a strenuous workout, wearing a mask does change things.

We know that wearing a mask can actually help achieve certain training goals.  Both pro and amateur athletes use them all the time. 

Check out this article about what wearing a mask while exercising does to your body: 

Here are some key things about your workout that will change:

  • your heart rate will increase;
  • your perceived rate of exertion will increase;
  • your core temperature will increase;
  • you will touch your face more;
  • if you have poor hearing, you won’t be able to see/read people’s lips making communication difficult;
  • you will need to change your workout intensity.

But none of these is a bad thing, unless your doctor says so.  So bring any questions you have to your doctor.

While COVID-19 is active, as long as your doctor clears you to use a mask during workouts, weigh the risk to benefits and decide on an approach that is the safest for you, your fellow exercise buddies, and your comfort while still achieving your workout goals.

Your chances of contacting COVID-19 depends on three factors:  the amount of virus you’re exposed to, the duration of your exposure, and your own immune system.  So if you’re in a closed room with other people for an hour, re-breathing air that’s recirculating the huffing and puffing of everyone in the room, a mask seems prudent.  Remember, it’s all three factors taken together. Just because your immune system is strong doesn’t mean it’s a match for a large amount of virus slamming into your lungs for an hour.

Keep in mind that some athletes purposely use masks during training, and did so even prior to Covid-19, because depending on the mask you choose–some come with settings!–the mask develops, strengthens and increases the efficiency of their respiratory system. Mask wearing has been likened to high-altitude training.

Some athletes also opt to wear masks when environmental conditions require it such as high pollution levels, extremely cold conditions and/or high pollen levels.

You may have never considered using a mask during your workout before. Is this an opportunity you’d like to explore?

Here are some of the top-rated masks that athletes use:  click here.  Don’t let the Darth Vader look scare you. Personally, I like the Dust Mask (#6 on the list), but I haven’t used it yet. It seems to get the job done without any frills. Because I have asthma in my history which the COVID-19 virus apparently loves, strengthening my respiratory system right now appeals to me.

Questions?  Ask us.  We’re here for you!