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Exercising with Your Mask On? Here’s What You Should Know

by Voices Wellness 22 Jul 2021
Photo: Under Armour

For a better workout experience, pick the right active mask and take breaks whenever necessary. By SAMANTHA FRANCIS.

As Singapore returns to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) from July 22 to curb growing COVID-19 cases, dining in has been suspended and group sizes are back down to two. Avid gym goers should note that mask-off activities such as strenuous indoor workout classes or individual and group indoor sports and exercise activities, will cease.

For those planning to continue low-intensity exercise classes, such as yoga and Pilates, practicing with a mask on is mandatory. If you’re not used to the whole idea of sweating it out while wearing a mask, here are some things to know.

Does wearing a mask affect your workout performance?

According to a new study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, mask-wearing appears to have no detrimental effects on the body during vigorous exercise. Researchers found that exercising with a mask on did not affect performance or peak power. Meanwhile, no differences were found when it came to blood oxygen levels, heart rate, or perceived physical exertion. 

Photo: Livinguard

Should you exercise with a mask on?

Before deciding if you should participate in a workout that requires mask-wearing, consider your medical history, experience, and familiarity with the exercise. If you’re up for it, slow things down and observe symptoms felt during the class, before modifying the intensity accordingly.

What sort of caution should be taken?

Those with underlying conditions relating to their heart and lungs should be extra careful when it comes to exercising with a mask on—these include asthma, heart rhythm problems, or ischaemic heart disease. Potential dangers of working out with a mask on can include shortness of breath and dizziness.

Photo: ASICS

What sort of masks should I wear?

When in doubt, always look out for lightweight and breathable face masks for a better workout experience. Some popular choices include Under Armour’s UA Sportsmask and the Livinguard Fitness Mask. The former is a triple-layer mask made of highly breathable spacer fabric, featuring a structured outer shell, while the latter is crafted with eco-friendly lyocell microfibre and charged with the brand’s proprietary antimicrobial treatment. Designed for runners, the ASICS Runners Face cover comes with air vents to allow more fresh air to enter while blocking out water droplets. It’s also roomy, quick-drying, and made with water-repellent material.

Tips to know

If you’re new to exercising with a mask on, learn to pace yourself and moderate the intensity. Whenever necessary, take your own breaks and rest. Alternatively, choose to attend virtual exercise classes in the comfort of your home. Those with existing medical conditions should consult a doctor before working out with a mask on.

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