COVID-19 Gym Protocols: Face Masks or Not?

doctor wearing face mask

By the looks of it, it seems the virus is really bent on decimating humanity. The thought might scare you. But the fact that COVID-19 is changing and getting stronger should be telling. India’s bout with the delta variant is giving us the scare as people succumb to the virus much like sitting ducks to an expert sharpshooter. The sad news is this variant is here in America as we speak.

Thus, even when California opened its economy in June this year, it had to do a turnaround. The state is putting back masks indoors and other safety protocols to contain the virus. And we’re back to square one.

While you might rely on being fully vaccinated, know that cases have shown that such a safety measure might not be enough. Breakthrough infections still do happen, albeit rather low. People who are fully vaccinated can still get infected.

So what are we to do? A big concern for you could be your routine at the gym. And the question that has bogged many is one about the mask. Do we still need to wear them?

Fortunately, experts have weighed in on the topic. Taking a hint from these professionals should be wise.

A Timely Study

A study was done to evaluate whether face masks should or should not be worn while exercising. There were fourteen young and healthy adults who participated in the study. Each participant had a complete cycle ergometry test. That’s simply riding a stationary bike until the rider gets exhausted. And yes, to know how effective masks are, two kinds of riders were tested: one wearing cloth face masks and one with no mask.

On the test, their blood oxygen levels were checked using pulse oximetry or a test to know the oxygen level in your blood. The result might surprise you, but wearing face masks did not affect performance during the exercises.

That means the masks did not affect the wearers negatively while they’re on the stationary mechanical bike. And that is not just for the oxygen levels. It also goes true for heart rate and perceived physical exertion.

child with face mask

What the Study Tell Us

Simply put, the study clearly points out that we can have our exercises and at the same time wear face masks for protection. You still need to be sure, though. Let’s say you are not affected by wearing face masks, but the chances are you might be uncomfortable.

While the study tells us it’s fine, effects can differ from person to person. One thing’s for sure. You don’t want to test positive for COVID-19 just because you were uncomfortable protecting yourself. After all, you go to the gym to get in tiptop shape and boost your chances against the virus.

Exercising and Wearing Masks

We all have different intensities of exercise. If you do exercise with low intensity, you might not have problems wearing face masks at all. That means you can have your leisurely walk or basic weight training with your masks on.

But those doing high-intensity exercises could be a different story altogether. Perhaps this is why South Korea is banning fast music and limiting treadmill speeds in gyms.

In a way, this puts a greater burden on gym managers to rein in people. Indeed, having reliable security personnel can go a long way in making this happen. In this regard, getting the right security guard services should matter now more than ever. A dependable service means quality protection against the virus in these trying times.

The Brighter Side

Surely, there’s a brighter side. Sports companies are coming up with better face masks for athletes as they are prone to intense performances. Over time, stronger masks should be available in men’s gyms.

In the meantime, gym buffs can use three-ply face masks since they’re designed for exercise. To boot, they’re more breathable. Also, they don’t tend to be saturated with respiratory droplets or sweat, unlike most traditional masks.

To be safer, you might also want to bring few extra masks should your mask be saturated with moisture when you hit the gym. It’s being wise and it’s thinking straight. If you do that, chances are your colleagues at the gym will do too.

It can certainly be a burden. Know, however, that the #1 way viruses are transmitted is via person-to-person interaction, CDC advises. Wearing a mask is a small price to pay to keep the virus out and standing as healthy as can be.

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