Honestly, it depends on your natural biology. Some people feel dizzy and lightheaded, while others tolerate the use of the sports mask perfectly. The common conclusion in sports studies is that different people react to the use of masks differently.
For instance, if an asthmatic 20-year-old and an active 40-year-old decided to run using the same mask for an hour, the 40-year-old would have a higher tolerance. Beyond this point, each medical health center seems to have differing opinions about using these masks in sports.
The CDC notes that if you cannot wear a mask during high-intensity exercises, it would be prudent to conduct the activity in an area that is well ventilated and offers significant physical distancing. However, the CDC discourages athletes from wearing sports masks in spaces where they could get wet, like swimming.
Nonetheless, they also agree that if the sport does not allow for physical distance, then the mask is necessary. On the other hand, WHO doesn’t recommend wearing a sports mask because it can make it challenging for you to breathe. And when you sweat, the mask becomes wet, creating an excellent environment for microorganisms to grow.
But other health centers like the Mayo Clinic believe that the masks are indeed safe for you, especially if considerations are made regarding the intensity of the activity. So, what is a sports mask, and how do you implement sports masks for coronavirus?
Defining A Sports Mask
Traditionally, these were masks that were worn to reduce the amount of air that an athlete breathed in during training. The primary goal is to make the respiratory musculature work harder, thus making it stronger. Hence they are excellent items for working on muscle fitness.
Nevertheless, the pandemic has made it almost necessary for athletes to wear masks. This has even pushed many sports brands to create specific masks for athletes like the Nike sports mask. But what does this mean for athletes during the pandemic?
New Evidence Concerning Sports Masks For Coronavirus
Studies show that masks have no adverse effects on athletes. At the same time, studies published by the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health denoted that the tighter the mask, the risker the results.
By and large, both studies were conducted on healthy and physically active adults, which means the implications of these masks on older adults or children are yet to be determined. This also includes people that have pre-existing medical conditions or those that cannot exercise regularly.
A Case Study
Researches from the University of Leipzig researched the effect of a surgical mask and the N95 mask on athletes. They determined that both masks reduce airflow into the lungs, with the N95 mask causing the most significant effect.
There was also an additional reduction in the maximum power of the athletes and the maximum amount of oxygen uptake. Conclusively, the use of sports masks reduces oxygen transfer into the bloodstream during high-intensity exercises.
Now that you know what is a sports mask and the implications it has on athletes, the question then arises, how can fitness centers implement the masks effectively and safely? Let’s look at some guidance they can follow:
How To Have Safe Workouts With Sports Masks
- Constantly monitor your symptoms and take necessary caution. If you notice any side effects like shortness of breath, dizziness, or lightheadedness, stop exercising. Take extra caution if you have pre-existing conditions like asthma, low blood sugar, or low blood pressure.
- Your exercise intensity should be in moderation. Your heart rate will get higher with a sports mask. This occurs because the mask calls for more effort while it decreases the performance capabilities of an athlete.
- The effect is even more evident in a heavy quality mask material like the N95 than a Nike sports mask. Therefore, this shows that high-intensity exercises should be avoided if the athletes must wear sports masks.
- Get the right mask. The type of mask you use will determine the effect you experience when training. For instance, go for cloth masks over cotton or surgical masks because they have a material that is easy to breathe in. You can have two layers of cloth on your mask to increase the efficacy without challenging your comfort. Also, do not use a wet mask.
Sports masks for coronavirus are highly encouraged by scientific evidence to help curb the spread of the virus. But, it will depend on the physical ability of every individual when it comes to their effectiveness in sports. While some can easily use the sports mask, others might require limited use or no use at all. So if you experience adverse effects, opt to do your activities in public spaces to keep a safe distance from other athletes.