The CDC states that wearing a mask during exercise is safe, as masks don’t significantly restrict oxygen flow. New research has shown that your heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, oxygen level, and time of exhaustion are not significantly affected by wearing a mask during moderate to strenuous aerobic physical activity.
However, wearing a mask may affect how exercise impacts our bodies, according to exercise scientists. The CDC recommends that individuals who have respiratory disease (like asthma) or heart disease be evaluated by a doctor before attempting to exercise with a face mask.
Do I need to wear a mask when exercising outside during the COVID-19 pandemic?
You do not need to wear a mask outside if:
You’re in your backyard or on personal property and it is very unlikely that you’ll end up within 6 feet of someone else.
You are in any other secluded location where the likelihood of running into someone else is very low.
For the rest of us, here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing and using a face mask for exercising.
Whichever type of mask you choose, plan a trial run. Proper fit is very important.
A mask may make you feel warmer than usual when exercising. Make sure the rest of your clothing allows you to stay as cool as possible.
Carry extras of your preferred mask. Even breathable fabric masks may become wet and uncomfortable and need to be replaced.
If you start feeling light-headed, dizzy, uncomfortable or have difficulty breathing, stop what you’re doing. Remove your mask and take a few slow, deep breaths. Rest a bit.