Nicolás Zúñiga, Costa Rican personal trainer, explains that it is normal to feel some discomfort with face masks and that it is only a preventive and safe measure against the risk of contagion of aerosols that can be found in the air and exercise safely in closed spaces.
The mask can be left in closed spaces
Several studies, including one published by the European Respiratory Journal, state that the mask can be used during exercise without influencing performance and has minimal impact on physiological variables.
The researchers carried out detailed tests on breathing, heart activity, and exercise performance in a group of healthy people while using an exercise bike with and without a mask. Although they found differences in some measures between those who used it and those who did not, they say that none of their results indicate any health risk. This suggests that masks can be safely used during strenuous exercise, for example to reduce the transmission of Covid-19 among people visiting an indoor gym.
“We should not fear the use of the mask in the event of a health alteration and we should not worry about responses that limit physical performance,” said Nicolás Zúñiga, Multispa personal trainer.
It points out that it is normal to have some kind of startle when breathing, which is only an adaptive response of the body to supply the amount of oxygen necessary for cardiopulmonary functions, so a slight hyperventilation is normal.
In that case, it is recommended to extend the breaks between sets or exercise circuits a little longer and thus control the intensity without affecting the resistance and strength. He also states that a workout around the hour will not cause the body to become contaminated with carbon dioxide, since the mask does not limit the oxygen saturation that must be at 90% to 100% during physical activity.
“New sensations frighten us as part of the normal response of human beings. As an emotional effect, sensations such as dizziness and headache have been observed, these are more associated with an emotional response or the parasympathetic system (in charge of controlling our functions, that is, the control system) that attends to a different response from the organism, but we have the great happiness that it adapts quickly ”, clarifies Zúñiga.
– If you are going to do high intensity exercise, do a cardiovascular warm-up before
– Avoid severely wetting the mask (sweat), as this further limits air absorption
– Take the breaks extending to more than 30 to 45 seconds more for a better recovery
– Wear a mask that is not very sealed, for example the surgical one
– If you have health problems associated with the cardiopulmonary system, perform very controlled and clinically recommended physical activity
– Maintain constant hydration during training since body temperature can increase during physical activity
– Learn to work with the scale of perceived exertion to feel more comfortable and know where you should rest more time.