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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone wear a mask (or cloth face covering) when in public. According to the current literature, this practice should also be required in a fitness setting due to the close proximity of individuals.

Is it safe to exercise with a face mask on?

Yes, it is generally safe for people to exercise with a face mask on.

Most people can perform all exercises, without complications, while wearing a face mask. In fact, even restrictive respiratory elevation training masks have been shown to be safe, and in many instances, beneficial!(

We will monitor for specific symptoms such as lightheadedness, dizziness, or shortness of breath. However, because of the porous design of cloth face masks, the likelihood of complications when using a cloth mask is unlikely.

"For the greatest comfort during strenuous exercise, Dr. Grant Lipman, a clinical professor of emergency medicine at Stanford University says, you might consider a mask made of thin, synthetic fabrics designed to reduce heat buildup and, since they are open, promote more airflow than standard surgical masks.

What type of mask will I be required to wear during my workout?

For your personal health and safety (and the safety of the other members), you will be required to wear a cloth-type face mask. If you do not have one, one will be provided to you. You will wear this mask in a way that allows for "loose-fitting" so that the sides of the masks remain open. Trainers will demonstrate this protocol to you.

Wearing a mask in this way will prevent direct ejection of respiratory droplets while still allowing the user to breathe without impairment. The only exception will be for individuals who are at risk of cardiovascular (or pulmonary) complications including: asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis and any other conditions that affect the heart or lungs.

The CDC also recommends that most people opt for cloth face coverings rather than N-95 respirators or surgical masks.

The Benefits of Training with a Mask

Wearing a face mask has actually been shown to promote several training benefits!

  1. IMPROVES RESPIRATORY COMPENSATION THRESHOLD (RCT) - RCT is the boundary between high intensity activity and severe intensity exertion. Under normal conditions the bodies drive to breathe is based on carbon dioxide levels in the blood. When RCT is reached, the bodies drive to breathe is driven by lactate levels. This causes very heavy respiration and signifies a transition point in which fatigue starts to overcome the body’s ability to sustain exercise intensity. Wearing a face mask increases RCT which allows the body to generate incrementally more effort before the point of exhaustion is reached. - AMERICAN COUNCIL ON EXERCISE JOURNAL OF SPORTS SCIENCE & MEDICINE

  2. IMPROVES VENTILATORY THRESHOLD (VT) - Ventilatory Threshold is the point during an activity in which breathing volume becomes insufficient to meet the oxygen demands of the body during exertion. Wearing a face mask has been shown to increase Ventilatory Threshold giving you access to more activity capacity during exertion. - AMERICAN COUNCIL ON EXERCISE JOURNAL OF SPORTS SCIENCE & MEDICINE

  3. STRENGTH TRAINING UNDER HYPOXIC CONDITIONS SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASES SERUM GROWTH HORMONE LEVELS - Serum growth hormone concentrations after exercise were significantly higher in the hypoxic group than in the normoxic group on both the first and last training sessions. These findings suggest that hypoxic resistance training elicits more muscle hypertrophy associated with a higher growth hormone secretion. - CLINICAL PHYSIOLOGY AND FUNCTIONAL IMAGING

"Research shows that wearing a mask* while participating in a 6-week high-intensity cycle ergometer training program... acts like a respiratory muscle training device. Wearing may improve specific markers of endurance performance beyond the improvements seen with interval training alone."

What if i do not want to wear a mask?

We are requiring all clients to wear a mask during indoor training. However, if you would like to train outside (ie: rear parking lot, field behind facility, or outdoor fitness circuit behind facility) you will not be required to wear a mask.

This procedure will be in place until May 31st, at which point I will make a decision on whether or not we will need to continue.

Yours in health,

Dr. Fred



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