Do Face Masks Hinder Breathing During Exercise?
Exercise performance and oxygen levels are not affected by wearing a face mask when you do strenuous physical activity.
Today, I want to explore with you whether wearing a face mask during vigorous exercise affects your performance or oxygen levels. During the Covid-19 pandemic, most of us are wearing such masks in gyms open to the general public. We start with this premise: Exercise is good for you:
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Do masks hurt our workouts: A new study
Might the face masks we wear (during the novel coronavirus infection era) compromise our oxygen levels? Or increase our rebreathing of carbon dioxide? Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan (Canada) evaluated the use of a three-layer cloth face mask.
The study included fourteen physically active and healthy men and women. Researchers attempted to control for the effects of diet, previous physical activity, and sleep during the 24 hours before the test.
The subjects did a short warm-up on a stationary bicycle. They then rode the bike as intensity progressively increased. They maintained a required pedal rate. Once they could no longer keep this pedal rate, the test stopped. Most participants became exhausted six to twelve minutes into the evaluation.
The subjects performed the test three times: 1) wearing a surgical face mask; 2) wearing a cloth face mask, and 3) wearing no face mask. The scientific team then recorded the subjects’ blood oxygen levels and muscle oxygen levels, using non-invasive measurement devices.
What you need to know: A face mask does not hurt performance
Wearing a face mask during strenuous workouts did not meaningfully affect exercise performance or oxygen levels. Wearing such masks in the Covid-19 era may your workout sessions safer while allowing gyms to remain open.
Thank you for joining me today.