Tips for wearing a facemask to the gym

Here's what you need to know before you mask up for training.

As the world starts to make its way out of stay-at-home orders, increasingly more gyms are opening their doors so diligent gains-makers can get back to work. Many gyms are requiring that their members wear some sort of face covering or a facemask, so here are some helpful tips to know before you mask up!

Reasons for wearing a facemask to the gym

Based on our initial understanding of COVID-19, wearing a facemask may potentially reduce the spread of any moisture exhaled from your mouth via breathing. If you are sneezing or coughing, it’s probably not the time to be going to the gym anyway. Since your breath is projected outward with less force thanks to the facemask, there’s a decreased likelihood of spreading any pathogens outside of your small bubble. This is potentially a way to help protect those around you, should you be sick without knowing it. Everyone at the gym is going to be working hard and breathing heavy, so keeping all that breath from moving around may be helpful.

Moreover, as a joint study by the KU Leuven (Belgium) and the TU Eindhoven (Netherlands) confirms, droplets remain behind athletes (bikers, runners etc.) in a kind of cloud. The risk of contamination is greatest when people stand in direct line, such as in team sports, or move in the slipstream of the other.

What is the best kind of facemask?

There has been an incredible amount of creativity when it comes to homemade facemasks. Some people are using bandanas, folded T-shirts, and even custom-sewn masks. The finer the fabric—that is, the smaller the gaps in the threading—the better the mask will be for capturing any moisture from your breath. However, conventional facemasks are not suitable for protecting athletes because they will affect breathing too much. The Sport Face Masks by McDavid convince with its antimicrobial properties and maximum air flow. The facemask has three layers on the mouth and nose to provide protection and breathability: the outer shell absorbs the air that is exhaled, keeps the skin dry and provides a pleasant feeling after prolonged, extensive wear. The antimicrobial lining effectively blocks droplets and particles in the air and thus also protects the wearer. The antimicrobial silver PET filter is inserted between the bowl and the lining. The particle filter is made from recycled, antimicrobial PET textile and contains AgPURETM nanosilver. The filter’s coating is water-repellent and breathable.

The McDavid Sports Face Mask is structured to sit up and off your face, which makes breathing and talking easier. It doesn’t move in and out as you breathe as cloth masks can,” says Patrick Cloots, Senior Vice President of McDavid. “Also, moisture-wicking fabric moves sweat to an inner layer so that sweat doesn’t build up on the mask in front of the nose and mouth, which might limit breathability.”

The reusable Sport Face Masks convince with an ergonomic, comfortable fit. The straps of the mask go comfortably around the head instead of just around the ears. Therefore, the mask feels comfortable even after long, intensive wear. The contour (stretch) with ergonomic bow on the nose adapts to the shape of the face, the darts under the chin ensure that the mask sits close to the face and eliminates exposed areas.

Is it safe to exercise with a facemask on?

Generally, yes, it’s safe for most people to exercise while wearing a facemask. Most people can perform every and all exercises with a facemask on. You will want to monitor how you’re feeling while exercising and watch out for specific symptoms such as lightheadedness, dizziness, numbness or tingling and shortness of breath. However, over a few weeks, your body will certainly adapt by becoming more efficient at metabolizing oxygen, but this takes time.

Experts suggests, if you’re going to wear a facemask while exercising, take five quality breaths before putting it on, right after putting it on, then after taking it off, to promote a good breathing pattern during your workout.

One thing we have learned is that wearing a facemask may not be an end-all solution. Keeping a safe distance from others and being smart about social interaction are still important things to remember. For now, life is going to be a bit different. Going to the gym with your face covered will feel odd, but don’t feel ashamed. We’re all in this together, and if by wearing a facemask you have the chance to help others, we say it’s worth it. Just make sure to continue keeping your distance from others and wash your hands regularly.