Working Out in Masks

In the light of the pandemic, the world has come to a compromise: you are able to participate in certain activities with the help of a mask to reduce exposure to things that could compromise our immune system, with the hopes of living in a a sense of normalcy once again. As you continue mask use, one must ask themselves, am I doing this right?


1. WASH YOUR MASK

Masks should be washed on a daily basis. This is the same as changing your clothes each day. It is important that cloth masks be machine washed with hot water to reduce breathing in dirt and other harmful bacteria during use. Disposable masks should be one-time-use only, as these may not be able to be washed correctly. It is especially important to wash or change your mask after a workout.


2. RIGHT FIT

Find a mask that fits snug and comfortable to the face with breathable qualities. This is especially important for working out. When you workout, you produce more droplets from the respiratory system that can be transferred to others due to an increase in breathing rate. Although wearing a mask to work out is required, that should not deter you. There are plenty types and brands of masks that offer comfortable fit and breathable material. When searching for a mask, prioritize breathability and material quality. Look for masks with layers of tightly woven fabric, yet breathable fabric such as cotton. Some masks even offer moisture wicking materials to allow for more comfort during a workout.


3. BREATHE

Allow yourself to become used to a new mask before using it to workout. If you are nervous about breathing in a mask, place your mask up to your face and practice breathing before jumping into full time use. Notice how the mask feels against your skin. Once you become comfortable, place the mask snugly on your face. It is important to keep calm while wearing a mask and teaching yourself to breathe properly and slowly. Keep slow and calm breaths. With activity, adjust your breathing rate accordingly and focus on the task at hand. This will help distract you from having the mask on. Try exhaling longer than your inhale. Some find it easiest to count their breaths, especially with exercise. Relax muscles in your shoulders and control your breathing.


Workout Tips:

  1. Make sure your mask fits snug and covers the mouth and nose, without slipping during exercise

  2. If a mask normally restricts breathing, it will not be good for exercise

  3. Remove your mask using the ear loops, as bacteria collects in the front of the mask

  4. Wash your hands before and after you put on or take off your mask

  5. If you tend to sweat more during your workout, come prepare with an additional mask. A damp mask should be replaced mid-or-after workout.



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