by Erica B. San Diego, MAY 2021
Unlike strolling through the grocery store, working out requires a high-performance mask that will stay in place and offer plenty of airflow. Here is what to look for:
1. Safe breathability
The CDC recommends choosing a face mask made of at least two layers of breathable fabric (read: not leather, vinyl, or denim) that fits snugly around your nose and mouth. Any tightly woven fabric will do the trick; Cotton is CDC-approved, and silk polypropylene have been shown to actively repel respiratory droplets, main drivers of COVID-19’s spread. Athletic fabrics like spandex have also been shown to be effective, but only when layered.
Many workout masks include valves or vents, but the CDC specifically warns against them—they might filter the air coming in, but they do not filter the air going out, putting the people around you at risk. They are especially dangerous if you are inside a gym or near others, so it is best to avoid them.
2. Snug fit
A proper seal is essential to protecting both yourself and others; you will not expel as many respiratory droplets and you will be exposed to less unfiltered air. Such a snug fit around the nose, cheeks, and chin might sound stifling, but plenty of masks that are more structured offer room to breathe.
3. Smart design
When you are working out, a mask that is customizable can make all the difference. Those with nose wires seal the top much more effectively. Comfortable ear straps are essential especially during long sets. Look for adjustable loops, which allow you to optimize your fit (and avoid any digging into your ears). Antimicrobial, water-resistant, moisture-wicking, and UV blocking fabrics all make exercise just a little more pleasant. UV protection and antimicrobial layers are nice details but not essential.
And after you get home, it is much easier to just throw your mask in the washing machine, so look for an option that can withstand frequent cleaning.
Not every face mask is conducive to a good workout, though. You want to look for a reusable face mask that’s lightweight, breathable, comfortable, sweat-wicking, and easy to clean.
About the writer:
Erica B. San Diego. Handling Corporate and Government Benefits for MPT South, Cavitex, and CCLEC. A brand new MOM, PATIENT and Empathetic.