Community Healthcare Network

Wellness / Nutrition

Being Active while Wearing a Mask

As we try new ways to move our bodies to adapt to our new norm, a type of training you might not have thought about it preparing your lungs to exercise while wearing a mask.

Here are some useful tips from Mayo Clinic about mask wearing & exercise:

  • When wearing a mask to exercise it should be fitted snugly over your nose and mouth but sit somewhat off your face; this will decrease the restrictive feeling and improve your ability to breathe. The best mask to workout out in should be made from breathable, moisture wicking materials, just like athletic wear.
  • When first starting to exercise with a mask, start small with easy cardio, traditional strength training, or sculpt workouts before advancing to more advanced exercises that might leave you breathless.
  • Shorten intervals. Make hard bursts shorter and increase your rest periods.
  • Monitor how you feel during your workouts. Take notice if you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or short of breath. If so, reduce your exercise intensity or stop until symptoms go away. Individuals with a pre-existing respiratory or cardiovascular conditions are encouraged to take caution when exercising with a face mask.
  • Be sure to wash your face mask after each exercise session.

You can also make mask-wearing more comfortable by doing breathwork to help your lungs adjust:

  • Practice diaphragmatic breathing: Place your hands around your ribcage, think about expanding your lungs as you inhale through your nose for 8 seconds. Hold for 5 seconds, then exhale out of your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat this cycle 5-8 times.
  • Be a nose breather even during exercise. This sort of breathwork helps to increases oxygen delivery in your body.
  • Schedule Mask time. Wearing your mask on and off throughout your day, even when you don’t have to, can help increase your tolerance.