Tips for wearing a mask while working out

Posted at 10:45 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 00:06:38-04

With summer in full swing, people are hitting the gym and some are even hoping to lose the "COVID-19" they may have gained during the first few months of the pandemic.

Phase Two of the Governor's order already placed restrictions on gyms, but now, it's mandatory to mask up while working out.

Like many, Rhett Riquelmy is still getting used to masking up at the gym.

"You get used to it. Right now, everything is totally different and out of the norm. As things progress, you get more and more comfortable," Riquelmy said.

Overall, Riquelmy believes those working out at Anytime Fitness have followed the rules and are using good etiquette.

Dr. Otis Drew, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine at Lafayette General, agrees the mandate will take time to get used to. He says while working out at home is the best option to minimize the spread of COVID-19, he understands people want to workout at the gym.

"Obviously, if you go to a gym, wear a mask," Dr. Drew said.

He added, it is important to maintain social distancing and it is safe to wear a mask while working out.

"If you're doing something like stretching or weightlifting, but you're not very aggressive with your lifting, I think wearing a mask is reasonable," Dr. Drew said. "If you're doing something that's high cardio intense, you might want to go outdoors to be in the open. If you're going to wear a mask, be very, very careful with that."

Choosing the right mask is key.

Stay away from paper masks which will deteriorate while sweating. Different masks have different levels of airflow restriction, depending on the thickness of the material. You might want to try different ones to determine which is best for you.

Experts say while working out with a mask, it's important to listen to your body.

"If you get lightheaded, get a bit dizzy and you feel like you can't catch your breath. You might need to remove your mask. If you're indoors, make sure you distance yourself from people when you do that," Dr. Drew said.

As always, practice good hygiene.

"From the time you walk in until the time you leave, it's clean, clean, clean. Once you're done, wipe it down again and if you go back to it, wipe it down one more time in case someone else went and grabbed it," Riquelmy said.

If someone has a cardiovascular or respiratory condition, they should ask their doctor about exercising with a face mask on.

Dr. Drew said, "Obviously we want people to stay active and to stay healthy. If you have those conditions, try to workout at home or outside as much as possible. If you have any type of respiratory issues and you feel distressed while wearing a mask, contact your primary healthcare provider to get checked up on to make sure it is nothing significant."

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