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We’re aware of a global pandemic that makes our daily life difficult for now. The coronavirus disease took the world by storm, surprisingly. The condition is highly contagious, however. 

Hence, it’s best to consider safety precautions at all times. It helps the infection from spreading from one person to another. One of these precautionary measures is to use a face mask.

People are now more aware of their wellbeing and responsibilities. Apart from frequent hand washing using soaps and sanitizers, face masks have become a newfound normal.

It’s a trivial and yet an essential protective gear without which people don’t step out of their houses. It is also essential to use a face mask to avoid spreading an infection to others.

Why are face masks important?

Humanity is slowly trying to recover from the global pandemic. We might use subways and local transportation systems again. Offices and community spaces are opening once again. 

But the next time you get ready to head outside, keep in mind to wear a face mask. There are countless reasons as to why this will be in your benefit. You must wear a face mask not only when exercising, but every time you head outside.

Before understanding the consequences of using a face mask while exercising, let’s see the right reasons for wearing a face mask first.

Personal safety

Firstly, wearing a mask will shield you from getting infections from others. Wearing a mask while going outdoors is for your safety. You must ensure that you maintain social distancing with other citizens as well. There is a debate around the effectiveness of masks based on the quality of the fabric used to build it. But having some precaution is better than having none at all. Don’t you agree?

Others are safe from catching an infection too

So, using a face mask is not just for your safety but also for saving others from catching an infection. If you choose to go for outdoor exercises, you should wear a face mask, period. There could be other joggers in the park. Be a champion for society by considering their safety too. It is just that simple.

Change of pace for aerobics

Aerobic exercise is those exercises that you can do without gasping for air. Generally, these exercises are walking, yoga, and so on. You can do these exercises easily while wearing the mask. Usually, a mask restricts some airflow to your body. It doesn’t stop it, but only decreases the oxygen intake per minute.  

Since aerobic exercises do not require your body more than average air intake, you will be comfortable. However, the same doesn’t apply for anaerobic activities. Anaerobic exercise demands your body for more intake of oxygen. The intense gasping for air during high-intensity workouts are not recommended while wearing a mask.

Safe from pollution

Lastly, face masks filter out tiny pollution particles suspended in the air. It is rather beneficial for your lungs and respiratory system. Keep in mind that you are safe & shielded against pollution to some extent. However, regular face masks aren’t for use in smoggy environments.

Is a facemask important when you go outside to exercise?

We get a lot of questions from you guys about the use of face masks during exercise. We understand that both indoor and outdoor workouts have different effects on the body and mind. The gyms are closed in many parts of the world.

So, exercising outdoors could be the best resort for many individuals to replicate a community environment. But, safety is always better than cure. You might like to work out outside, but can you fight the urge? Keep reading to know more.

Should you wear a face mask during exercise?

Let us finally look into the troubles that you might experience if you wear a face mask during a workout outdoors. 

If you live in a non-containment region, then, by all means, you can go for a quick run outside. 

But, what if you live in a contaminated zone? Is it still safe to work outside? If you practice social distancing norms, then you can prefer to exercise outdoors but only in sparsely crowded areas. We always recommend working out indoors, however.

If you are going to work outdoors, do not forget to carry your face mask and use it. By the end of this article, you will understand the pros and cons of wearing a face mask while exercising outdoors. We are also going to mention a few tips that you can remember as a rule of thumb.

Let’s dive into the details and understand the pros and cons of wearing a mask while exercising outside.

Dangers of wearing a face mask while exercising

Let’s look at the dangers of wearing a face mask while working out. There are many risk factors that can harm you severely. In the worst-case scenario, please collapse or faint. Read about these possible dangers below.

Irregular breathing

We have learned so far that with the use of a face mask, there is some limitation in regular breathing. You might have to put in a little more effort than usual during breathing. Prolonged difficulties caused by this irregular breathing, can be fatal. Let alone while exercise with improper breathing, you could be inviting troubles. You may be inviting exercise-induced asthma without realizing it.

Let’s understand these difficulties in a little more detail.

Oxygen deprivation 

Irregular breathing can lead to oxygen deprivation in the body. In simple words, it means that the supply of oxygen in the body is less than usual. The consequences of exercising in this condition can be deadly. Do not push yourself to work out beyond the point that breathing becomes a challenge instead of a difficulty. It is important to remember that oxygen is what keeps us, humans, alive.

People are fainting due to shortness of breath and collapsing to the ground. All because of oxygen depreciation in the body.

Limited performance

Lack of oxygen supply in the body will, without a doubt, put a limit on your performance. You might struggle more than usual in your daily runs, or planks. With limited performance and oxygen deprivation, working out with a mask on is a foolish move. 

Without proper oxygen flow, your performance can drop by up to 40%. In simple words, it means that your gains won’t show.

Blackouts

The extreme consequence of exercising with a mask on is a possible blackout. With negligible oxygen in the respiratory system, the body will struggle to keep with your pace. Ultimately you are at a high risk of blacking out. 

Hyperventilation with a mask on is something that you shouldn’t invite. Hypocapnia (hypocarbia) means reduced carbon dioxide levels in the blood. It arises due to rapid breathing, known as hyperventilation. 

It can trigger a heart attack.

Dr. Leong Hoe Nam (an expert at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital) suggests that firstly, working out with the mask on is fatal. Putting your life on the line is inviting blackouts. And depriving regular oxygen flow is dangerous. In the worst-case scenario, this can trigger a heart attack.

Do not get overwhelmed to exercise and don’t put yourself at risk.

Over to you

Let’s summarise the discussion we had so far. We understood that using a face mask during these troubled times is a pivotal act of safety for ourselves and others. But you cannot give up exercising altogether.

There are many pros to working out with a face mask. 

But the cons of working out with a face mask outweigh the disadvantages against it

Face mask exercise

Tips while exercising with a face mask.

  1. Do not push your body beyond a limit that you struggle with breathing.
  2. If your face mask is wet due to exercise or any other reason, use a fresh face mask.
  3. If you have to work outside with a face mask, consider not going to crowded spaces.
  4. Keep a spare face mask in your bag. Switch your sweaty face mask with a fresh one. It is necessary because summer is approaching in full swing, which only means more sweating.
  5. Try to avoid doing anaerobic exercise like high-intensity exercises with a face mask.
  6. If you have to use a face mask while working out, go for aerobic exercises like walking and breathing exercises like yoga.

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