Face Masks Won’t Hamper Your Workout, Study Says

By Cara Murez
HealthDay reporter

TUESDAY, November 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) – If you want to workout while wearing a cloth face mask, a new study says it’s safe to do so.

Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada found that wearing a three-layer fabric face mask during intense training did not affect physical performance or had an adverse effect on the blood or muscle oxygen.

“If people wear masks during indoor exercise, it could make workouts safer and allow gyms to stay open during COVID,” said study co-author Phil Chilibeck, professor at the College of Kinesiology of the University.

It is notable for gym users “because respiratory droplets can be propelled further with heavy breathing during vigorous exercise and due to reports of clusters of COVID-19 in crowded closed exercise facilities,” Chilibeck said. and his colleagues.

To conduct the study, 14 physically active and healthy men and women did a brief warm-up on a stationary bike. They gradually increased the intensity while maintaining a required pedal speed. The test ended when they couldn’t continue to ride at this pace. They were generally able to ride for about six to 12 minutes before reaching exhaustion.

Participants took the test three times, once without a mask, once with a surgical mask, and once with the three-layer cloth mask. The researchers said a single-layer mask might not offer the same results.

The study did not find any evidence to support the idea that vigorous exercise with a mask could compromise oxygen uptake or increase rebreathing of carbon dioxide, which could lead to a condition in which carbon dioxide displaces oxygen in the blood.

“Our results are important because they indicate that people can wear face masks during intense exercise without adverse effects on performance and minimal impact on blood and muscle oxygenation,” the researchers said.

Chilibeck recommended that people who train in a gymnasium, ice rink or other recreational space wear masks to stay safe.

“It could also allow sports to continue, including hockey, where transmission of COVID-19 appears to be high,” he said in a college press release.

The study was recently published in the International Journal of Environmental and Public Health Research.


More information

Learn more about when and how to wear masks from the World Health Organization.

SOURCE: University of Saskatchewan, press release, November 3, 2020

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