Scientists have discovered that the use of a cloth face mask decreases athletic performance during exercise.

cloth face mask
A cloth face mask and exercising don’t go hand in hand

Cloth Face Mask and Exercise: Findings

In yet another shocking discovery, scientists have proven that wearing a cloth face mask while exercising ‘limits performance and physical capacity’. This new will come as a particular shock to anybody who has actually worn a mask over the past year.

During the small study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, joggers wearing cloth masks said they experienced claustrophobia. Their oxygen intake was found to be reduced and their heart rate had a lower peak than when they were not wearing a mask and performing exercise. 

Their endurance was also affected and they were unable to jog for as long as when not wearing a mask. On average, participants managed to run for 99 seconds (14 per cent) longer while unmasked. The majority of participants stated that it was harder to exercise at maximum effort while wearing a mask.

Although organisations and governments around the world, including the UK government and the World Health Organization, have advised not to wear masks while engaging in exercise, in many parts of the world and in many establishments, mask-wearing is mandatory while performing indoor exercise.

Mask wearing was mandated in New York gyms, for instance, and there has been backlash in recent weeks against mask mandates for school athletes in certain parts of the United States. Gymgoers in Australia have found government guidelines for mask-wearing while exercising confusing and potentially dangerous.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk attempts to explain the mask rules for indoor exercise

In the UK, Trish Greenhalgh, professor in primary care health sciences at the University of Oxford, recently faced ridicule when she suggested that masks should be worn when performing exercise outdoors, especially by “puffing, panting” joggers, who might pose a “danger” to pedestrians because of their vigorous exhalations.

The researchers who conducted the new study were careful to hedge their findings. The results, they said, “do not fully explain how mask-wearing might directly limit cardiovascular function.” And so they conclude that it was “discomfort associated with mask-wearing.” 

The researchers recommended that frequency, intensity and type of exercise should be modified when wearing a face covering such as a cloth face mask.

Face masks recently entered the conversation on the topic of microplastics and phthalates as these properties could be linked to shrinking penises.

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