Wearing face mask during vigorous exercise safe for healthy individuals

  • 2021-03-16
  • 1170

In a small study, healthy individuals who wore a face mask had modest respiratory discomfort and a slight reduction in cardiorespiratory parameters, but use was deemed safe overall even during vigorous exercise.

“Despite the absence of definitive data on the respiratory effects related to the use of protection masks, there is a general belief that their use is associated with shortness of breath during exercise and the need of a greater respiratory effort even at rest, leading to the potential risk of reducing the application of an effective measure that contains infection,” Massimo Mapelli, MD, researcher at Monzino Cardiology Center, IRCCS, and the department of clinical sciences and community health in the cardiovascular section at the University of Milan, and colleagues wrote in the European Respiratory Journal.

Researchers evaluated breathing, cardiorespiratory activity and exercise performance in 12 healthy adults (mean age, 40.8 years) while riding an exercise bike with and without a mask. The masks tested were a surgical mask and a filtering facepiece particles class 2 (FFP2) mask. Each test was performed 24 hours apart within 2 weeks. The researchers assessed dyspnea status and standard pulmonary function before and after the intervention. Check out at:  https://img.connexions-tech.com/product/face-mask

The researchers observed a progressive reduction in FEV1 and FVC from exercise with no face mask (3.94 and 4.7, respectively) to exercise according to the results.

In addition, the researchers observed progressively lower VO2 uptake and CO2 production with a reduction in respiratory rate.

No adverse events were reported. The researchers observed no significant difference in oxygen saturation while wearing a mask.

The researchers noted that the study was small and conducted only in healthy, middle-aged adults; thus, the results are preliminary and need to be confirmed in larger groups.

Further research on the impact of wearing a face mask is underway in patients with heart and lung conditions as well as healthy individuals performing daily activities such as climbing the stairs or doing housework, according to the release.

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