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Working Out With Face Masks: What You Need to Know

As our members know, the past few months TruFit Athletic Clubs has been putting our best efforts and resources into providing each of our members a safe and functional workout experience in each of our locations. In accordance with state and federal health guidelines, we have ​adjusted some of our club rules​ that include wearing a securely fitted face mask while exercising inside our facilities.

While wearing face masks while working out does take some time adjusting to, it is an effective way to safely allow our members to continue to use our clubs to our complete capacity while limiting the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. Don’t let face masks deter you from achieving your health and fitness goals. Our fitness experts and staff have put together a list of tips and techniques to help you adjust to working out while wearing a face mask.

Masked Breathing Facts

Although there is conflicting information out there about the limitations of breathing while wearing surgical or cloth face masks, wearing one ​does not, in fact, significantly reduce​ the amount of oxygen (O2​) your blood and lungs are able to absorb. They do reduce the rate at which you inhale breaths, however, and may also trap more exhaled carbon dioxide (CO​2). This​ causes an unequal ratio between the gases exchanged during your respiratory cycle leading to a condition medically known as hypercapnia.

This condition is not severe enough to cause any sort of major health concern, but you may need to adjust or adapt your fitness routine to optimize your masked breathing. Also being aware of the rate at which you inhale and exhale will be enough to overcome a mild case of hypercapnia. Here are a few tips on how to adjust to exercising while wearing a face mask:

How to Get Used to Working Out and Wearing a Face Mask

Until we are all able to get through this together, we must get used to wearing a mask while we are out in public. Every time you wear one, it gets easier to use and the discomforts become less noticeable. Here is how you can prepare yourself to workout in a mask while you’re away from the gym:

●  Wear your mask around the house for an extended period of time to get used to the fit around your face.

●  While wearing the mask, practice deep, belly-breathing techniques instead of shallow breathing.

●  Stay in the right mind-frame. Instead of thinking about the challenges of learning how to adjust to wearing a mask, think about how you are going to fight to make it work.

Although it may feel strange, remember that wearing a mask does not pose a significant health risk, but instead helps protect your health and everyone’s health by stimying the spread of COVID-19 and other aerosol-transmitted diseases. Stay in the right mind frame, you will be able to effectively work out while wearing a face mask.

Improving Your CO2 Tolerance

To adjust to the increased amount of exhaled CO2​ trapped by face masks, improving your ​breathing techniques can help you overcome any discomfort you may encounter while working out in a face mask. If you are just starting out, try reducing the intensity of your fitness routine, and allow for frequent rest periods between reps and exercises. Taking things a little slower will help build your CO2​ tolerance in increments.

Remember to focus on manual breathing techniques to strengthen your ability to fully exhale the CO2 in your lungs. Be aware of your midsection, you want to be breathing from the diaphragm. If​ you notice your chest or shoulders rising during your inhale, switch to belly breathing.

Although following health and safety guidelines may pose some challenges, staying committed to your fitness goals takes a few minor adjustments. Of course, if you are not feeling well or notice any symptoms of illness, it is the best choice that you stay at home until it passes.

We at TruFit are eager to help you stay on course while protecting our members’ overall health. Our members’ health, safety, and fitness remain our top priority. Our fitness experts are always available to work with you one-on-one to develop safe breathing exercises to improve the effectiveness of your workout. We so appreciate your support and encouragement as we work to remain open to serve your fitness needs.

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