New York: Desperate to hit the gym, but worried about working out with masks? Wearing masks, both N95 and cloth mask, while exercising is safe and effective, suggests a study.
Wearing a mask while at rest or during activities of daily living is recommended to be safe and effective for reducing the risk of person-to-person airborne transmission of SARS-Cov-2, the virus causing Covid-19.
A team of researchers from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, US, tested whether mask wearing during exercise stress testing (EST) to peak exhaustion provokes clinically indicated safety concerns.
The trial included 20 never-smoker, apparently healthy, recreationally active men (11) and women (9) in treadmill EST under each of the experimental conditions: no mask, N95 (3M, 8200, N95 respirator), and cloth mask (Boco Gear PM2.5 activated carbon filter).A
While there was discomfort exercising with a mask, it did not raise any health issues, revealed the study published online in JAMA Network Open.
"This crossover trial found that perceived breathing resistance at peak exercise is uniquely and significantly elevated when EST is performed while wearing a mask," Matthew Kampert, from the Center of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopaedics, at Cleveland Clinic.
"Performing EST with a mask yielded lower peak VIO2 and heart rates as compared with no mask. However, each experimental condition resulted in peak exercise values that generally remained within normal limits, and no EST required termination due to clinically indicated safety concerns.
"Thus, although it is possible that wearing a mask exerted a physical limitation on exercise capacity, the clinical relevance of such a possibility is not supported by these data," he said.
As the study did not include people with chronic disease or heart or lung problems, the researchers recommended that people with underlying health conditions talk to their doctor about exercising with or without a mask.