Working Out with a Mask: Everything You Should Know Before Hitting the Gym
Working out with a mask might not be something you ever imagined doing four months ago, but today it’s a reality many of us are facing. In order to continue making healthy happen, we’ve got to adapt to our surroundings—and in some cases, that means getting our fitness on while masked. However, we want to help you navigate masked fitness, so you feel empowered to work out and continue in your fitness journey without disruption.
Do masks really make a difference? According to Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals—they do. But that shouldn’t stop you from giving it a try. Keep reading for info on how masks effect your breathing, tips on how to help your body adapt to masked workouts and alternates to an in-gym sweat sesh.
What Happens When You Mask Up and Work Out?
Less oxygen in your lungs means less oxygen in your bloodstream and muscles, which can make your ordinary training feel more difficult. However, in a few weeks, your body will become more efficient at metabolizing oxygen and it should start to feel less difficult. If you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or short of breath: SLOW DOWN, reduce exercise intensity or stop exercising until symptoms go away. If symptoms do not go away, momentarily remove your mask to allow for better air flow to the lungs. Try to maintain at least six feet of distance between you and other people if you need to de-mask. Individuals with a pre-existing respiratory or cardiovascular condition are encouraged to take caution when exercising with a face mask and consult your physician before engaging in masked workouts.
Take It Outside
On the other hand—outdoor exercise with or without a mask seems to be safe according to most experts. “I think relatively little COVID-19 transmission would occur outdoors, except perhaps in large crowds,” advises Benjamin Cowling, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Hong Kong.
Even so, the CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask of some kind when leaving home, and some states require a facial covering if you are outside in public spaces.
Ready to Make Healthy Happen in the Gym?
We’d love to see you! But before you head to the gym, we’ve got a few tips that will help you return safely.
- Go during traditionally less busy hours per your location. Often this is 10am-2pm.
- Wipe down everything before and after use.
- Plan your workout to stay in your own space using limited equipment. Try to use one set of dumbbells if you can.
- Limit your workout time to about an hour.
- Bring your own towel.
- See if your local Anytime Fitness is offering Virtual Training Sessions where you can get in-home training through our app with a coach. This is a great option if you’d like to continue your fitness journey and don’t want to work out while wearing a mask.
- Use the Anytime Fitness workout app to complete a workout at home, search bodyweight programs and more!
If you’re not sure where to start our coaches can help you decide what type of exercises and intensities will work best for you whether you’re in the gym, at home or outdoors with or without a mask!