A new study by the University of Saskatchewan has revealed that exercise performance and blood and muscle oxygen levels are not affected by healthy individuals wearing a face mask during strenuous workouts. Various questions have been raised as to if wearing a mask during vigorous exercise might compromise oxygen uptake. In the current study, 14 physically active and healthy men and women were included. Their diet physical activity and sleep during the 24 hours prior to the test were controlled. The researchers assessed the participants once wearing a surgical mask, once wearing a cloth face mask, and once wearing no mask.
The blood oxygen and muscle oxygen levels were recorded throughout the test using non-invasive measurement tools. The participants were required to do a brief warm-up on a stationary bike and the test involved progressive intensity on the bike. The findings suggested that people can wear masks during intense exercise with no detrimental effects on performance and oxygen levels. Wearing a mask is important in gyms as many gyms are opening during COVID-19 and also since respiratory droplets may be propelled further with heavy breathing during intense exercise.
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