Wearing a Face Mask When Exercising
Many measures to control the coronavirus's spread are implemented, including social distancing, hand hygiene, and wearing non-medical face masks in public areas.
However, following these measures becomes more challenging and confusing during outdoor exercise sessions. Infection control remains an important factor, but wearing a mask comes with potential breathing restriction and discomfort in mind. Selecting a suitable face-covering becomes an act of balancing benefits versus possible adverse events. Most people will be able to exercise safely wearing a face covering, but points to consider include:
- Viral transmission from infected but asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals is possible. Due to the increased breathing rate during exercise, the risk of aerosolization and the spread of virus-containing droplets could theoretically be higher than when at rest.
- A more breathable material will aid in comfort but may be a less effective viral source control. Two layers of material are considered sufficient to balance efficacy and comfort. Not having a tight seal around the sides of your face increases the risk of droplet spread but also allows for better air movement.
- Restrictive airflow masks can increase the rate of perceived exertion and decrease performance during resistance training.
- Ensure that your face covering is comfortable and secure before leaving the house to limit the need to readjust it and touch your face.
- Although everything regarding COVID-19 is not clear yet, the rule not to exercise when suffering from febrile illness remains due to the cardiorespiratory complications that may occur.