Exercising With Face Masks – Safety Tips
With gyms looking to reopen and sports clubs wanting to resume, before anyone recommends wearing a face mask, we must understand the pros and cons of the same on our health. Experts say that even those who have a relatively high level of fitness should expect to fatigue faster when exercising with a face mask.
Exercise invariably leads to faster and harder breaths, so wearing a mask during exercise places a further strain on airflow. When we do heavy exercise, our muscles produce lactic acid, which causes that burning sensation. It is then converted to carbon dioxide and exhaled. But what happens if the carbon dioxide is trapped by the mask? As one moves from moderate to heavy exercise, one may be re-breathing carbon dioxide, which can reduce cognitive function and increase breathing rate.
Tips on Proper Wear of a Face Covering during Exercise
- Always use a Cloth face covering while exercising.
- One can avoid wearing a mask if working out away from other people.
- Make sure that mask is big enough to cover nose and face, must feel comfortable and snug around cheeks and nose. Try not to fidget with the mask while working out.
- If the mask restricts breathing prior to exercise, it will not be good to wear during exercise.
- Wash hands PRIOR to putting on mask. Soap and water are fine or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Do not touch eyes, nose or mouth while removing mask. Also wash hands AFTER taking off mask. It is best to remove your mask by the ear loops because the front of the mask is where germs will collect.
- While talking, keep the mask over the nose and mouth. Do not pull it down as this defeat the purpose of blocking respiratory droplets from being released in the air.
- If you tend to sweat a lot when you workout (indoors or outdoors), perhaps bring a second mask with you and replace when it becomes damp. It is best to replace a damp mask (from workout sweat or outdoor humidity).
- For people who wear glasses, sometimes they fog up if too much air is released near the nose of the face mask. Readjust the mask to be snug over the nose.
- Use caution and know that if you are uncomfortable, take breaks, change mask, or stop workout. Listen to your body.
When exercising, the mask should be looked at as a barrier, not a complete shield, in terms of blocking virus particles. Therefore, whenever possible, social distancing measures should always be adhered to in the gym, and commonly touched surfaces should be routinely sanitized. So keep reading for more….