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Latest research shows that wearing a mask protects you in the gym—and barely hinders your athletic performance

working out gym mask
Photo via Nenad Stojkovic/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

As research shows, wearing masks to protect yourself and others during an outbreak is an idea that goes back centuries. Until enough of the population gets vaccinated for the world to achieve herd immunity, wearing a mask is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Though President Joe Biden has made it clear that he wants people wearing masks, not everybody is in agreement (and at least one bar tried to throw a “mask off” party to celebrate some states getting rid of their mask mandates).  

Yes, there’s more hope to ending the pandemic than we’ve seen in months. But it’s not over yet. January was the deadliest month since the pandemic began, and though the numbers have been coming down since then, there are still heartbreaking stories of entire families dying from the coronavirus. By late March 2021, coronavirus rates were beginning to rise again. 

That’s why the continued wearing of masks in our everyday lives is imperative. More research continues to emerge about the masks and whether they should be worn to help stave off coronavirus transmissions, and the vast majority of it shows masks are vital to keep people safe from COVID-19. Here’s some of the latest research.  

–Here’s some good news for those who are just itching to get back to the gym—whether it’s for their physical health, their mental well-being, or both. According to research published in the European Respiratory Journal, wearing a face mask at the gym could help reduce the spread of COVID-19 without really impacting the quality of your workout. 

While wearing a mask during high-intensity exercise isn’t always so comfortable, the use of a mask only has a minor effect on the performance of the mask-wearer. Researchers studied 12 healthy individuals who worked out with and without a mask, and their breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels were monitored. They discovered that the mask wearing didn’t affect the health risk posed to the exercisers, though there was a slight decrease in the ability to complete the intense exercise. 

“This reduction (in performance) is modest and, crucially, it does not suggest a risk to healthy people doing exercise in a face mask, even when they are working to their highest capacity,” said Dr. Massimo Mapelli, who contributed to the report, said, via Muscle & Fitness.

But is it safe to return to the gym after you’ve received a vaccination? Not necessarily, but if you do decide to exercise in public, the wearing of a mask is a necessity to keep you as safe as possible. 

–If you’re still struggling with the idea of taking off your mask while you’re eating in public, Mexican inventors might have a solution for you. As noted by Reuters, the idea is a nose-only mask that you wear underneath your normal mask. Then, when you uncover your mouth to begin eating, the nose-only covering remains in place. 

But not everybody was impressed by the aesthetics of the invention. 

In case you missed the last blog post, the spotlighted research showed that students are still safe when they’re three feet away from classmates as long as they’re wearing masks.

Josh Katzowitz

Written by Josh Katzowitz