Should the pandemic call for us to wear masks when we exercise?

As coronavirus continues to run rampant around the globe, most people are wearing masks every time they leave their house. With many gyms still closed, people have found creative ways to exercise, such as going on daily runs to converting entire garages into home gyms. Sometimes, however, the goal of wearing masks can come into conflict with the goal of exercise. And this begs the question: is it smart to wear a mask while exercising? To me, the answer is more complicated than “yes” or “no.” I believe it depends on the circumstance and the method of exercise.

Personally, I don’t wear a mask while walking down the street. I rarely come into contact with people, and if I do, it’s never more than a split second as we pass each other. So, if I’m on a run or a bike ride, I believe it’s perfectly safe not to wear a mask. Experts have confirmed that wearing a mask can be dangerous while doing exercise. According to the World Health Organization, people should not wear masks while exercising as they may reduce the ability to breathe comfortably. It can also lead to recirculation of air that makes it more difficult to get enough oxygen, which can then lead to loss of consciousness or hyperventilation. So, it is not only safe, but also recommended, that you shouldn’t wear a mask while exercising.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. If you are exercising in an actual gym, with many people around you, all breathing heavily as they exercise, it’s probably a good idea to wear a mask, even if you only wear it when you aren’t exercising.