How to Exercise While Wearing a Mask Outside (And Still Breathe!)

By The Captain September 12, 2020

Wellness Captain Exercising While Wearing a Mask

Although it’s been months since the beginning of the pandemic, we’re still getting used to wearing a mask when going out. However, there’s something even harder than grocery shopping with a piece of fabric covering half of your face: working out with one.

‘But why should I wear a mask if I’m jogging outside?’ you may ask. Well, certain places like public parks or beaches are so crowded you can’t keep the recommended social distance of at least six feet. Even hiking trails may be congested since many people are practicing outdoor activities more than usual.

I’m not expecting anyone to wear a mask when jogging alone in the woods – but that’s not always the case. Therefore, not only is it important to always have a mask at hand, but it’s equally important to know how to work out while wearing one.

First things first, let’s find out how wearing a mask impacts our workout sessions.


Why wearing a mask makes exercising different

Regardless of what kind of workout you perform, your body will require more oxygen than usual. Your heart rate will increase and you will probably sweat more too. If you’re wearing any type of mask, all of these physical changes will feel more difficult, which could reduce your overall performance.

Even so, this shouldn’t discourage you. According to Irvin Sulapas, sports medicine physician at Baylor College of Medicine, says that ‘It may take a few weeks of regular exercise, but you’ll eventually feel more comfortable exercising with a mask.’

Cycling or Running: Which One Is Better For You? Find out here!

You may look at this adjustment as a new challenge for your exercising sessions. As long as you’re taking breaks and stay hydrated, you will most likely reach your usual pace in a matter of weeks.

ATTENTION! If you’re suffering from a respiratory condition such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or a cardiovascular illness, please consult a specialist before exercising with a mask on. Your doctor may recommend exercising safely indoors to avoid wearing a mask.


Tips & tricks to work out in a mask easier


  1. Adjust your workout goals

It’s important to admit that wearing a mask may prevent you from achieving your pre-pandemic exercising goals. It’s important to lower your expectations a bit and stay indulgent with yourself, at least until your body gets used to this new way of working out.


  1. Monitor your heart rate

If you’ve been using an activity tracker before, you already know your usual heart rate and how it increases during workouts. If not, it’s time to get one and keep track on your heart beats per minute to know when you should take a break. To me, smart watches like this one are the most comfortable choice.

How to Exercise While Wearing a Mask Outside (And Still Breathe!) 1How to Exercise While Wearing a Mask Outside (And Still Breathe!) 2


  1. Build intensity gradually

You probably already know how much warming up before a workout matters. It’s even more important to focus on slow, simple exercise moves now that you’re wearing a mask. You can start slow and build intensity gradually; also, once you reach a higher intensity, do a short bout and slow down again to help your body self-regulate and get the oxygen it needs.


How are you working out these days? Share your tips in the comments and let’s help each other out!

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Wellness Captain