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In the Gym: To Wear a Mask or Not to Wear a Mask?

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As businesses start to open and people begin to feel more comfortable  venturing out of quarantine, many are left wondering what guidelines they should be following to ensure the safety of themselves and others. The use of masks and their effectiveness seems to be a hot topic and is often considered a personal choice that is done out of respect to others.

Wearing a mask may not be so intrusive when you’re out running errands, but what about when you’re working out at the gyms as they start to open? On one hand, it seems like a great idea so that you can ensure the safety of those working out around you, but on the other hand, is it actually safe to be breathing in your own carbon dioxide as your heart rate increases?

Generally, working out with a mask on is safe for those that do not have an underlying respiratory condition. However, working out with a mask on does create some health concerns.

One concern is that training with a mask on limits the flow of air into your lungs. This will make training more difficult as you’ll have less oxygen in your working muscles. The good thing is, the body can learn to adapt to the use of a mask while working out. Imagine how strong you’ll be after your body has grown accustomed to working out with less oxygen and you can finally workout without a mask!

Another concern is breathing in your own carbon dioxide. The body’s carbon dioxide levels rise during physical activity. This causes you to breath faster and your heart rate to increase. A mask may trap some of this carbon dioxide inside. These levels are typically too low to cause poisoning, but they can cause you to feel extremely fatigued much more quickly than normal.

Some of us will have more difficulty than others depending on varying fitness levels. You’ll want to pay attention to your body and be on the lookout for such symptoms as dizziness, feeling lightheaded, fatigue or shortness of breath. If you start to feel any of these systems, allow yourself to take a break!

It’s important to note that here at Victory Fitness Center, we encourage the use of masks especially when spotting someone, but wearing one is not mandatory.

Devon Andrews

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