Is there a Downside to wearing a Mask during Exercise?

The pandemic has forced us to perform more of our activities outdoors. As a result, hiking, strolling, riding a bike or just jogging has become a challenge to practice social distancing. Most people feel that it is uncomfortable and harder to breathe wearing a mask while exercising. Many wonder if they are getting the same benefits that a good workout provides while wearing a mask. Two studies have shown that wearing a mask does not hinder the effects of vigorous training. An older study focused on health care workers and how masks affected their work and found that it did not. According to a new study Published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science it found little if any noticeable differences in heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, respiratory rates and current carbon dioxide levels. Sixteen participants were asked to ride stationary bikes in an uphill slant until they reached the point of exhaustion. The athletes performed 3 sessions and in one they were allowed to remove the masks. Test results showed no difference in all the above markers. A second study, with fourteen men and women was conducted in the same manner and published in The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health also found no difference in performance or difficulty in the results of wearing or not wearing a mask. The studies dealt mainly with cycling, but it is safe to say the same results would be found during any vigorous exercise. But it is important to remember that these studies were done with healthy individuals and may affect someone differently if they have breathing difficulties or are not very active differently.