Wearing a Mask won’t Ruin Your Workout, Study Shows

When you workout, your breath rate rises. But sometimes, it becomes difficult to breathe faster while wearing a mask. 

According to a new study, working out while wearing a face mask doesn’t pose any threats. Even though it is a bit irritating to breathe faster in a mask, it won’t ruin your health.

U.S. News shares the insights from a study on masks and exercise routines. Let’s check out some highlights.


The researchers conducted a study with 12 people, half from each gender. While the volunteers were working out on a bike, the researchers measured:

  • Breathing
  • Heart rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood oxygen levels

They found slightly changed behaviors. The minor differences in measurements occurred because some of the volunteers wore masks, while others were working out without masks as per their usual routine.

Is there any difference?

Concerning European health journals, those differences were no risk to any health condition. It suggested healthy people wear a mask during exercise.

Elisabetta Silvioni who wrote the study is from Centro cardiologico Monzino in Italy. She stated that it is safer for healthy people to wear a mask while working out, especially during the current pandemic. 

Why is the Mask Safer?

Droplets in the breath work as transmitters for coronavirus. When you workout, breathing becomes more challenging. The possibilities of transmitting the viruses increases while you breathe harder, specifically indoors.

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Therefore, it is suggested to cover your face during exercises to avoid inhaling or exhaling COVID-19 particles. 

However, it’s not clear whether the mask can cause health issues while doing high-intensity exercises, as stated by Salvioni in the European Lung Foundation newsletter.

Does it Affect the Energy Level?

Since aerobics exercises make breathing harder, breathing in and breath out through a mask during aerobics exercises becomes difficult. The researchers noted that the ability to perform aerobics exercises reduced 10% in the participants who were wearing masks.

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Another study author Massimo Mappalli from the same institute suggested wearing a mask during workouts. According to him, the reduction of the ability to perform vigorous exercises is modest. There are no severe consequences monitored in the volunteers wearing a mask. 

Even when a healthy person exercises with the highest possible energy level, there will be no serious health issue regarding breathing, blood pressure, etc

Is the Condition Same for People With Serious Health Issues?

The conditions are not the same for people with breathing disorders and cardiological issues, as Mappalli says. He suggested those people wait for further research as the scientists are also working on these issues. 

People with respiratory disorders and heart-related issues can face difficulty in breathing if they workout wearing masks.

Is it Safe to Wear a Mask for Other Indoor Fitness Activities?

According to Sam Bayat from the Clinical Respiratory Physiology department of the European Respiratory Society, it is safer to wear a mask during other indoor exercises and physical fitness activities.

If you wear a mask for a tolerable period, it will not cause you any health issues. 

However, the studies conducted up till now are done with smaller groups of people. These findings need confirmation with groups of more significant numbers of people.

Scientists are working on this issue, and you will find more evidence in the future that will support the current findings.

How to Use a Mask Effectively?

The world health organization has given some guidelines on how to wear a mask.

They are as follows;

  • Clean your hands before putting on a mask and do the same after putting it off.
  • Avoid touching your Mask frequently.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands after touching any object.
  • A mask should cover your nose, mouth, and chin.
  • If it is a medical mask, dispose of the used one in a trash bin.
  • If it is a fabric mask, wash it clean after usage.
  • Store the fabric mask in a plastic bag.
  • Do not use masks with valves.

What Type of Mask Works Well while Exercising?

Polyester is a moisture-wicking material. Polyester masks and cloth masks will be more helpful while working out. The Mask should consist of a maximum of two layers as the layering increases the exhalation.

Surgical masks get wet quickly and make it challenging to breathe harder. That is why you should avoid surgical masks during a workout.

Also, keep an extra mask. The dampness affects the functioning of the Mask. Change it before it gets too sweaty. 

Is it Uncomfortable to Exercise When the Mask is on?

In the beginning, it wasn’t easy to exercise wearing a mask. When the pandemic started, everybody was so concerned with the problems that occurred while wearing a mask. 

By the time everyone got used to it, and now after a year, people are comfortable with masks and performing daily routines like always.

The same happens when you first use a mask while exercising. You will get used to it and become comfortable in a few days.

What are the Indications to Stop working out?

Since exercising with a mask is new, everyone should know the right time to stop it.

Some indications will allow you to decide whether it is safe to keep exercising or to stop there.

  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breathing
  • Blurring of vision
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Headache

If you feel any of the above symptoms, stop exercising. Find a safe place to sit and relax. Take off your Mask and lose your muscles to feel better.

If you feel shortness of breathing and chest pain worsens, quickly seek the doctor’s advice. These might be the symptoms of a heart attack. Take them seriously.

Bottom Line

Masks have become a necessity these days. It is mandatory to wear a mask wherever you go. Working out is also necessary, and if you want to stay fit, you should not skip exercise.

Masks make exercising possible with all safety measures. Besides, it keeps you safe and helps avoid viruses which may lead you to face the consequences of covid-19.

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