workout while wearing a mask

COVID-19 has interrupted a lot of our routines and activities like the gym. Exercising is sacred to some and the vast majority of patrons are befuddled with gym mask rules.  Trying our best to adhere to safety regulations is important and doesn’t have to be uncomfortable, there are some unique ways to comfortably workout while wearing a face mask.

 

Background

A few months ago, my brother asked me if I would wear a mask while at the park. I had intended on playing basketball and knew I’d be breathing heavily, so I quickly thought and said, “No. Why would I?”

Of course, I was aware of the pandemic, yet I figured it’d be okay to risk it because I would be out in the open. And, something about playing basketball, running and jumping around while having your breathing restricted or blocked in some way, just didn’t register with me.

The Mayo Clinic posted an article on some of the potential dangers of working out with a mask on. Because airflow is lower while wearing masks, some of the possible effects one can expect while exercising with a mask on are: dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, and muscle weakness.

This seemed pretty straightforward to me, which is why I went to play basketball without the mask.

Two weeks later a friend invited me to go to 24 Hour Fitness with them to play, however, I turned down the invitation because I didn’t want to wear a mask while playing.

Now, I personally don’t like to miss out on a good time if I can help it. And given the world of late, a lot of good times are a bit more difficult to find or maintain, or even consider possible, because we’re constantly thinking our safety, or the safety of those around us is in jeopardy.

And so we wear a mask. We wash our hands. We practice some form of social distancing, even though as the pandemic has aged over these 7 months, we’ve seen closer proxemics from several people. Many of us, however, are still at the very least, cognizant and compliant with some layer of COVID-19 management.

For those of you who are like me, this respecting the COVID-19 management means not infiltrating certain people’s space who obviously don’t want to be near other people who aren’t wearing masks. Because of this, our in-gym time has decreased significantly, and we’ve had to come up with at-home exercises and outdoor activities. Which, as I’ve experienced, isn’t all that bad.

It’s just different.

 

playing basketball

 

I’ve missed the culture of the gym. That competitive yet embracing environment the gym provides its usuals. It’s a whole vibe.

Because of this, I recently began practicing basketball with my mask on to see what it was like and whether I could manage. To my surprise, it’s actually quite possible. Just a bit annoying.

The other day I wore a standard surgical mask while playing basketball. Overall, the experience was okay. The mask stayed on my face for most of the time. Some strenuous movements caused it to rise higher on my nose and into my line of sight or right under my eyelids, which got irritating; however, for the most part, it held tight and my breathing wasn’t too negatively affected.

 

Gym Mask Rules

I figured with most gyms like 24 Hour Fitness and Planet Fitness requiring masks at all times while inside the facility, it’d be best to seek which kind of mask I liked wearing the most while I was working out, should I want to finally go to a gym again.

I did discover that Crunch, according to their website, only recommends face masks, but does not require them, lest the state that they are in currently mandates that all people wear them at all times while not in-home. Curves, a gym chain designed specifically for women’s health, initially closed several of their locations and moved to in-home workouts. They have since then re-opened several locations including clubs in California, Colorado, New York City, and several others. Check their website here to find open locations near you.

Equinox is a luxury gym – with different gym face mask policies depending on which area you’re in. In areas like New York, Florida, Canada, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington DC, gym members must wear their masks at all times except while working out or wiping your face down with a chilled eucalyptus towel–, according to their gym mask rules

Gym Mask Rule
24 Hour Fitness Worn at all times in all parts of gym
Crunch Recommends masks. Only requires them if the state requires it.
Curves No report
Equinox Depends on state. Some require, others don’t while members are exercising
Planet Fitness Worn at all times in all parts of gym

 

Unless an exemption permits it, both 24 Hour Fitness and Planet Fitness require masks to be worn at all times. For Equinox, however, in states like Texas, Connecticut, and even the city of San Mateo in California, all allow members to take off their masks while they are exercising but require them to put them back on once they are finished or choose to walk around.

 

Masks Mandates By State

On October 16, 2020, AARP released an update on which states require masks. According to them, 33 states require masks in public. To save time, here are the remaining 17 that don’t.

  1. Alaska
  2. Arizona
  3. Florida
  4. Georgia
  5. Idaho
  6. Iowa
  7. Mississippi
  8. Missouri
  9. Nebraska
  10. New Hampshire
  11. North Dakota
  12. Oklahoma
  13. South Carolina
  14. South Dakota
  15. Tennessee
  16. Utah
  17. Wyoming

Remember, each state has different layers of rules when it comes to masks policies, so just because masks may not be required by law in some states, this doesn’t mean that all areas allow for no mask access. So, as Equinox stated, masks will be required so long as the state requires it and if that establishment requires it.

 

Finding Comfortable Masks

I live in California, a state mandating people to wear masks during most public occasions. Because of this, once I return to the gym, I want a mask that best suits me. After my experience with the standard surgical mask, I tried the standard cone-shaped N95 paper mask. I had a similar experience as my time with the surgical one.

I also used a cloth mask I got from Foot Locker, which provided me more comfortable on my face, avoiding the strange sensation of rough material rubbing against my face; however, as the straps are not adjustable, I ran into the same problem of having the mask rise high up on my nose occasionally.

Looking for a solution to finding the perfect mask to comfortably workout in, I ran across 3 of Spectral Body’s specialized masks that promise to not only protect you from deadly pathogens but enhance your workout experience as well and satisfy the gym mask rules.

 

Spectral Body’s: Copper ION Training Mask | Antiviral Training Mask | Breathable Face Mask

copper ion training mask

 

The first was their Copper ION Training Mask. The major downfall of the masks I currently have is the lack of adjustable straps. Often when I’m working out, my mask will rise high up on my face and I’ll have to pull it back down. Thinking about it, by constantly touching my mask, especially if I were in the gym, I’m increasing the likelihood of me catching the virus. Fortunately, this mask provides a solution to both my issues.

It features:

  • Adjustable straps
  • 100% Copper Infusion
  • 100% Machine Washable
  • Antimicrobial inside and out
  • An Extra Protective Layer Suitable for Exercise
  • Adjustable to Any Size (Good for the kids)

& it’s

  • Odorless

The 100% copper infusion is what’s significant here. Copper has been scientifically proven to kill germs. The antimicrobial properties of it are what kill microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Once bacteria come into contact with copper, BAM. Melted. In away.

 

Have you ever thought that if you need to take your mask off and put it in your pocket where you carry your phone, cash, and other items that germs and bacteria could be lingering inside?  Your mask gets sandwiched between these possible virus-carrying items and the next place it goes is back on your face completely defeating one of the overall purposes of wearing a mask for protection.

 

Also think about when you touch contaminated surfaces where it is said by the CDC  the virus can live up to 3-5 days, CDC states in their most up to date guidelines “Consider wiping public surfaces before and after you touch them. These types of behavioral adjustments can help reduce the spread of COVID-19.”   With now most overcrowded & underfunded gyms getting complacent on sanitization protocols you possibly put your self at risk by touching your mask or placing it down somewhere unintentionally.

 

benefits of wearing copper gloves

Spectral Body also carries a pair of antibacterial gym gloves, these copper woven gloves are designed with the same virus killing material as the Copper Ion Training Mask.   A single dumbbell at the gym can carry over 352 times more bacteria than a washroom faucet so it’s not a bad idea to protect your face from your very own hands and these gloves do the trick.

copper workout glovescopper ion training mask

 

 

This means that if I’m looking to comfortably workout while wearing a mask, and want to be as safe as possible, using this adjustable, germ-killing mask and glove combination, might be the best solution.

 

Spectral Body’s: Air Purifying Training Mask | Electric Face Mask | Built-In Fan

air purifying training mask

In order to help people comfortably workout while wearing masks, the designers at Spectral Body had to get creative. They pioneered one of the first  Air-Purifying Training Mask which looks just as promising if not more than the Copper ION Training Mask.

  • It purifies the air and can filter pathogens the size of PM2.5 or less.
  • It has a built-in, low-noise fan with two spin speeds.
  • As an electric respirator, one may suspect the mask to be large; however, Spectral Body has designed the mask to be 4.25 inches tall, and 3.6 inches thick.
  • It features a USB charging port and is said to last for 4 to 8 hours after a single charge.

 

Spectral Body’s: Elevation Mask | FDBRO Training Mask | Carbon Fiber

elevation mask

The carbon fiber elevation mask is a staple in any serious athletes training regimen, designed to protect you during these dangerous times, and enhance your overall health in a number of ways. These masks are said to improve stamina and endurance, increase fat loss, strengthen the core, and boost mental preparation.

Here’s how it does this.

1) Improves Stamina & Endurance

The masks are designed to artificially increase the CO2 levels in your body. The levels of CO2 you have in your body dictate the rate at which you breathe in. Higher rates of CO2 yield higher rates of breathing and vice versa for lower rates.  Because of this, wearing this mask, that has an air resistance feature, will force your lungs to take in less oxygen; meaning, CO2 levels will be higher; meaning, your body will have to adjust.

Essentially you’re training your respiratory system to get stronger. This is what runners who run in higher elevations do when they wish to increase their endurance. The extra strain to feed oxygen to their lungs, thus increasing the production of ATP and the levels of CO2 in the body, is the challenge they try to overcome. Consistently doing so trains the body to perform efficiently under new limitations.

 

2) Increase Fat Loss

Similarly to the benefit of increased endurance and stamina, increasing fat loss by wearing the mask is simply a by-product of using it; not like that mask injects some fat-loss oils into your skin or something.

The key here is the extra intensity necessary to perform different actions while wearing the masks. This “extra intensity” means you’ll work out harder, which of course, eliminates more body fat.

Growing accustomed to the excess energy required to perform certain tasks, preps your body physically and mentally. Which brings us to our 3rd benefit of these masks:

 

3) Boosts Mental Preparation

This makes a lot of sense to me. As one may notice when they meditate, your body holds onto the air and expands as you inhale. When I inhale deeply for a long, and controlled time, l often notice my body appears larger and I have more color to my skin.

When I meditate, I can feel my diaphragm expanding and contracting with my breathing, and I’ll hit certain points where maintaining airflow becomes difficult until I adjust the position of my body to match the best path for air to flow through it. If I leave my body folded or twisted, I can feel the different parts of my body that feel tight or are less receptive to touch.

 

training mask breathing

Wearing the masks simulates strained breathing, therefore you’ll be required to zone in on your breathing in order to execute your different tasks more effectively. This focus can be taxing, and as I said, without being in the proper position, it’s difficult to even strain yourself to strain yourself.

However, with a mask that does this for you, the next challenge that will ultimately improve your overall health is to simply concentrate on breathing as best as possible, with the limited amount of air afforded to you.

It’s the same concept as resistance bands. The pressure of something pulling your muscles down causes your muscles to “concentrate” or tighten so that you can power through that force and enter a different position of standing or holding or exerting.

The masks strain you, then strengthen you, and as a result, improve your mental health and coordination.

 

4) Strengthens Your Core

Speaking of coordination, the core, or the midsection of the body, plays a huge role in how your body operates. It stabilizes your spine and supports your balance and stability. With the training mask, you can train your diaphragm which will allow you to take in more air, and add more control over the flow of air in and out of your body. This ultimately increases your ability to properly perform any physical activity.

 

Overall

As I stated earlier, I’ve been missing the gym. Very soon, I plan on returning to my local gyms, which for me are 24 Hour Fitness and Planet Fitness clubs. Because of such, and because of my very “okay” experiences with both standard surgical masks and even cloth ones, I plan on using more comfortable masks like the three from Spectral Body mentioned.

All three of the masks have main features that excite me.

The Copper ION Training Mask, with its 100% copper infusion and adjustable straps, really attracted me. Being able to adjust my mask where I like, while feeling less anxious about where I place my mask or when/if, I ever touch it, is a reassuring feeling to have during these uncertain times.

The Air Purifying Training Masks’ built-in respirator makes me feel like I’d be protected much more as compared to a normal mask. Especially given the fact that I’d use it in gyms. Places that, though several precautions are being taken to ensure they stay clean, are still used by people who are sweating and breathing heavily for prolonged periods of time. Thus increasing the likelihood of spreading COVID.

And finally, the controlled strain the Elevation Training Mask puts on its users, promises intensified training. I’m all about feeling my body during a workout, and this mask assures just that. The increased concentration as a result of my focused breathing is an extremely cool concept.

Knowing that there are masks that I can comfortably workout in, that will not only protect me but possibly provide me with extra training or improve my resistance to viruses with simply how they’re designed, is a breath of fresh air. As fresh as masked breathing can get.

If you are interested in purchasing one of these masks, click on the following link or use the links on the photos. Thankfully, they guarantee satisfaction, have easy returns, and can ship globally.

 

 

Emon Johnson
Emon Johnson
Fitness & Health Writer at | + posts

Emon Johnson is a blogger and journalist specializing in research-based articles and health and wellness niches. He holds a bachelor's in psychology and is currently working on his master’s in applied behavior analysis.