By Apollo 24/7, Published on - 12 August 2020
When gyms across the country closed down to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us resorted to getting some physical activity or working out, at home. It is a good idea to exercise at home to ensure safety until a vaccine or a definitive treatment for COVID-19 is found. However, people who are keen to get back to the gym when it reopens, or are looking to go for a run, may wonder if they should wear a face mask when exercising.
Let us try and answer it in this article.
As per the World Health Organization (WHO), wearing a face mask when exercising can affect your ability to breathe easily. This may be because exercise results in harder and faster breaths leading to airflow constriction.
Though there is limited evidence of the dangers of wearing a mask while exercising, some health experts have pointed out the following:
People who wish to work out in a public setup like a gym, park, etc. or are doing a high-intensity workout, are advised to wear a face mask made of a breathable fabric to allow comfortable breathing. Social distancing of at least 6 feet remains the best way to protect yourself in such settings. If you are exercising at home, you can do so without a mask.
People with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions like constructive obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, bronchitis, and any condition that affects the lungs or heart are advised not to wear face masks when exercising without consulting a doctor. If you are unable to see your doctor in person at the moment, you can use a telemedicine app to consult a doctor online.
People who are working out after a long time or are new to it can keep the intensity of the workout from low to moderate. It is important to recognize when the breathing starts to get difficult. If any fainting or dizziness is experienced while working out, one should take a break, physically distance themselves, take their mask off, and breathe normally for some time.
While visiting the gym at this time may not be a wise decision, you can follow these precautions to lower your risk of Coronavirus infection:
Besides taking these precautions, it is also important that you follow some basic gym etiquettes. This can be followed before and after the pandemic:
People falling under the high-risk category such as people aged 65 years and above, people with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children aged below 10 years are recommended to exercise at home to minimize their risk of infection.
With the lockdown being lifted and various facilities gradually opening up, you may want to resume your workouts at the gym or go for a run. Face masks are considered effective safety tools during the pandemic and you may consider wearing it while exercising or running, to prevent viral transmission. However, you must remember to couple it with social distancing during workouts and follow effective hand hygiene once you get back home. Also, follow the precautions discussed above to lower your risk of infection when exercising.
If you have any questions relating to Coronavirus, do an online doctor consultation with our team of expert doctors.
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