As we continue to navigate the “new normal” during these current pandemic times, we are resuming the discussion we started last week about adjusting to fitness while wearing face masks. Although properly-worn face masks have been clinically proven to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and other aerosol transmitted diseases, we know wearing one while getting a thorough workout can be uncomfortable, to say the least.
Last week we went over some tips and techniques to get used to wearing masks in your everyday life, and how to build your CO2 tolerance—two techniques that can help you overcome the main detractions of wearing a mask while working out. This week we plan to tap into our fitness experts’ knowledge to give you better breathing techniques and exercises to help give you the most comfortable and thorough workout you can achieve while visiting one of our many locations.
Masked Fitness Tips: Diaphragmatic Breathing Techniques
When you inhale, breathe from your diaphragm instead of your chest. Diaphragmatic, or belly breathing, allows for a full O2 exchange, meaning equal parts O2 in and CO2 out. This type of breathing also helps stabilize blood pressure and breathing rate, reducing the occurrence of hyperventilation. Diaphragmatic breathing can be developed through nasal breathing, box breathing, and prone breathing techniques:
Box Breathing Technique
Step 1: Inhale deeply through your nose slowly for four seconds.
Step 2: Hold your breath inside your lungs for another four seconds without clamping your mouth or nose shut.
Step 3: Exhale fully for another four seconds.
Prone Breathing Technique
Step 1: Lie flat on the floor or sit in a comfortable position.
Step 2: Relax your upper body and shoulders.
Step 3: Place a hand on your stomach and chest.
Step 4: Breathe in through your nose for a total of two seconds while feeling your stomach expand more than your chest.
Step 5: Press your lips together like drinking from a straw while pressing on your belly to exhale for two seconds.
Nasal Breathing Technique
Step 1: Keep your mouth closed while breathing in through your nose.
Step 2: Practice only inhaling and exhaling through your nose for at least 5 minutes while doing lower-intensity cardio exercises.
Workouts That Help Develop Diaphragmatic Breathing
Now that you have a good grasp on developing your diaphragmatic breathing, let’s go over a few workouts to try before you jump back into your regular workout routine. As you know, TruFit has a number of high-intensity to low-intensity group fitness classes that we offer at our various locations. While tackling the higher-intensity classes like cycling, Combo6, or Tabata is still possible while wearing a face mask, our experts recommend the following low to medium intensity workouts to start out on to build your face mask tolerance.
Of course, all TruFit locations adhere to state and federal guidelines for safety. Our group classes are set up to observe social distancing and health safety requirements, so can resume your group fitness schedule without worry. Let’s take a look at fitness perfect for face masks.
Group Classes for Masked Workouts
This class puts a new twist on the old step aerobics workouts you may be familiar with. Along with the old familiar steps, we add new levels and fresh approaches to keep your heart rate up while not putting too much intensity on your breathing.
The foundations of yoga rest within your breath, so you know that if you attend any one of our yoga classes, you will get a thorough and relaxed workout. Choose from slow flow yoga, beginner yoga, hatha yoga, candlelight yoga, or any other low-impact yoga offered at your local TruFit club.
These workouts combine fitness disciplines such as ballet, yoga, and Pilates into a body shaping experience using holds, isometric movements, core work, and muscle strengthening to tone and shape your body. There are no heavy weight lifting or hyperintense cardio exercises in barre classes, so you will be able to hone your masked breathing techniques while getting a full-body workout.
TruFit Has Your Health & Safety In Mind Always
Although there are challenges, you are strong enough to overcome any obstacle working out in face masks may present. Remember, we are all in this together, and together we can make it through. We are confident that in our 30,000 – 55,000 sq ft clubs, following social distancing and increased cleanliness guidelines will continue to provide our members with the TruFit experience you have grown accustomed to and expect from our clubs and staff.
Your health and safety is our number one priority. Even in this global pandemic, it is still possible to continue your fitness journey safely.
See you at the gym!