State and local government mandates are now requiring that all individuals entering an indoor public space must wear a face mask. This includes gyms! It’s an adjustment, to say the least, but this article will help you navigate the new rule.

First and foremost, if you have any underlying conditions, please consult with your doctor before exercising with a mask on. While for most people it is safe to wear a mask during exercise, it may not be safe for those with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions, therefore it is recommended that you speak with your doctor about the safest way to exercise while wearing a mask. 

Next, it is recommended that you use a lightweight mask and that you bring 2-3 extra masks. Look for lightweight, cloth masks that fit snug but comfortable against your face. Gaps can reduce a mask’s effectiveness, and no one wants to wear a mask that keeps slipping off your face. Additionally, cloth can be laundered and machine dried without damage, and you should never exercise while wearing a dirty mask. Look for a mask that is breathable, does not get too hot inside the mask, and is not irritating to your skin. Purchase a few masks and see which is the most comfortable for exercise. Do this before you get to the gym, so you aren’t forced to exercise in a mask that you can barely breathe in. 

With the new measures, it is more important than ever to start at a slow pace. Your body isn’t used to working out with a face mask on, which can restrict how much Oxygen you are receiving, therefore it may take time for you to be comfortable exercising this way. You might get tired quicker, but if you feel like you are pushing yourself too hard, then you need to take a break and then reduce your intensity. Make sure you are paying attention to any dizziness, lightheadedness, or shortness of breath. Your health and safety comes first to us, and if you experience any of these symptoms, take a break until you’ve recovered and notify a staff member. If you need to remove your mask, please do so outdoors or in a location where you are socially distanced from others. 

Prioritize your safety rather than the perfect workout. Listening to your body is one of the most important things you can do while wearing a mask during exercise. Be sure to check in with your body and what it needs. Don’t be frustrated with the limitations of training with a mask on and always think about the bigger picture.