Our world has drastically changed in the past year with the COVID-19 pandemic. Masks are required in most indoor places by law. Gym’s are slowly opening back up, and at least in personal experience, they can get overly crowded.
Masks are made in such a way to prevent respiratory droplets of bodily fluids to become airborne, which is one of the main ways that COVID-19 is transmitted.
So, how safe (or dangerous) are masks when working out?
Why is it not OK?
According to WHO, as our body gets heated up in a workout, it tries to maintain a normal temperature by releasing sweat. The sweat then travels into the mask which causes it to become wet.
The wetter the mask is, the less air that is traveling from the outside into your lungs. Since your body requires more oxygen when doing rigid workouts, it may not be enough to keep up with the activity and can become dangerous.
This becomes a problem when doing intense workouts as the trapped exhaled air in the mask is inhaled again which reduces the amount of oxygen that your body needs.
Masks can breed micro-organisms
Masks can become expensive quickly as production is still catching up with the demand. For example, a box of 50 masks can cost up to $20, so most people re-use their masks.
Re-using the same mask can create a perfect environment for micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungus – especially in hot, high-moving activities.
What if my gym requires a mask?
Big chains of gyms are following the governments advice by enforcing masks but only inside. Many gyms are also offering classes, and even bringing their equipment outside.
If you must wear a mask, do lighter exercises and try not to overwork too much inside. Listen to your body – if you are feeling tired, take a break. If your mask is too uncomfortable – carry a replacement.
Restrict your heavier more vigorous workouts in a safe, and socially distanced place outside. You can even build your own homemade gym.
Running outside can be a great way to get your daily workout in and get some fresh air while you’re at it. Make sure your route is clean and that you can run freely at least 6 feet apart from other people.
Will it last forever?
Our bodies are truly adaptable and exhaustion and uncomfortability lessens over time. It just won’t happen so fast, so make sure to stay safe and if you ever need an experts advice – consult your doctor.
Also Read: Can coffee help with your workouts?