Parks, gyms, and fitness centers are slowly reopening and it’s no surprise that a lot of us are looking forward to breaking a sweat in an environment that isn’t your living room. However, with all things post-COVID, the world of fitness has changed, and it includes the use of face masks.
We’re all still adjusting to constantly having to wear face masks, and the fact is, even experienced mask users may struggle with wearing one whilst exercising. However, if you’re a fitness freak, then you need to learn how to adjust to this new normal as face masks are one of the best ways to curb infection rates. What’s more, a report published in Apunts Sports Medicine found that as breathing intensifies when you’re exercising, this then increases the risk of you spreading the coronavirus.
So, with that said, let’s discuss how a face mask in the new fitness attire that you can’t leave home without.
But first, is it safe to exercise with a face mask on?
The answer is yes, however, there are a few issues that we need to point out.
For one, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that people do not wear face masks when exercising as doing so may affect their ability to breathe properly. What’s more, they also shared that sweating in a face mask can also promote the growth of harmful bacteria and that can create another set of problems that you don’t need in a pandemic.
While the British Journal of Sports Medicine echoed the same sentiments, it also advised that fitness lovers should properly balance the benefits against possible adverse events.
If you are looking to exercise with a face mask on, it’s important to pay extra attention to how you are feeling, and it’s also best to be conscious of your heart rate. If your heart rate starts to worry you, or you begin to experience light-headedness, dizziness, numbness, or shortness of breath, then you may need to cut your workout short.
It’s also best to stick to low-intensity workouts, stay hydrated, and above all, choose a fitness-friendly face mask.
How to Choose a Workout Face Mask
If you want your face mask to keep you safe, comfortable, and dry as you exercise, then you need to be conscious of the following:
With that said, here are some of our favorite fitness masks to try.
Top Face Masks for Working Out
1. Reebok Face Covers (3-Pack)
These reusable masks from Reebok are made out of breathable fabric (93% recycled polyester and 7% elastane), and they fit snugly over your face, making them perfect for your morning run.
You can buy them here.
2. Under Armour Sportsmask
With a water-resistant outer shell, as well as an anti-microbial treatment on the inside layer, this face mask from Under Armour is perfect for an outdoor workout, and not just because it stays off your mouth and wicks sweat but still allows air to flow through.
In addition to being washable, the UA Iso-Chill fabric on the interior lining of the mask, as well as the ear loops, feels cool to the touch for as long as you wear it.
You can pre-order the mask here.
3. Athleta Made to Move Mask (3-Pack)
This breathable, lightweight face mask from activewear brand Athleta is made from polyester spandex and polyester mesh. The mask also has a flexible plastic boning in the center of the mask to keep the fabric out of your mouth, as well as an encased wire that will allow you to adjust the mask for a more secure fit.
What’s more, in addition to keeping you fit and safe, Athleta has pledged to donate 100,000 non-medical masks to healthcare organizations in support of frontline workers.
You can buy the mask here.
4. Hanes Signature Stretch-to-Fit Masks (6-Pack)
Made with three layers of breathable fabric, as well as an adjustable nosepiece and front panel pleats for extra coverage, these machine washable face masks can be disposed of after 20 uses.
You can buy the face mask here.
5. Adidas Unisex Face Covers
These super-soft, flexible and breathable face masks from Adidas are made with two layers of 93% recyclable polyester Adidas says $2 from every pack sold will go to Save the Children’s Global Coronavirus Response Fund.
You can buy the face mask here.
6. Puma Face Mask
These lightweight face masks are made out of nylon and spandex. They also have adjustable straps for a custom fit.
What’s more, a portion of the sales from the masks will go towards the UN Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
You can purchase the face mask here.
Exercising with a face mask
Now that you have your face mask on hand, it’s important to take the right precautions so that you don’t jeopardize your health – or your workout.
It may be easier to exercise with a face mask when the air is cooler, so try to get a workout in during the early morning and late evening or when the air is cool and dry.
Keep it light
Cardio exercise is great for your heart, but you might want to keep cardio workouts at home.
High-intensity cardio workouts may make it harder to breathe, so it’s best to keep your outdoor workouts light and opt for exercises like yoga, Pilates, or light jogging.
Don’t overdo it
As much as you’ve been exercising indoors, your body is still not used to working out with a mask on.
Therefore, it’s important not to overexert yourself, and to take regular breaks if need be, especially if you’re experiencing any dizziness, light-headedness, or shortness of breath.
Who should not exercise with a face mask?
If you have underlying cardiovascular or respiratory conditions, then you may not be able to work out with a face mask on. It’s best to reach out to your doctor and ask.
Want to know more?
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Córdova, A., & Latasa, I. (2020). Respiratory Flows As A Method For Safely Preventing The Coronavirus Transmission (Covid-19). Apunts Sports Medicine. https//:doi.org/10.1016/j.apunsm.2020.05.001