Infectious Disease

Sporting a face masks throughout vigorous train, secure for wholesome people

March 08, 2021

2 min read

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In a small study, healthy subjects wearing face masks had mild breathing difficulties and a slight reduction in cardiorespiratory parameters, but overall it was considered safe to use during vigorous exercise.

“Despite the lack of definitive data on the effects of the use of protective masks on the respiratory tract, there is a general belief that their use is associated with shortness of breath during exercise and the need for greater breathing effort even at rest, leading to respiratory impairment and potential risk to reduce the use of an effective measure that contains infection, ”wrote Dr. Massimo Mapelli, researcher at the Monzino Cardiology Center, IRCCS, and the Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health in the cardiovascular field at the University of Milan in the European Respiratory Journal.

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The researchers evaluated breathing, cardiorespiratory activity, and exercise performance in 12 healthy adults (mean age 40.8 years) while riding an exercise bike with and without a mask. The masks tested were a surgical mask and an FFP2 mask (Filtering Facepiece Particles Class 2). Each test was performed 24 hours apart over a 2 week period. The researchers assessed dyspnea status and standard lung function before and after the procedure.

The researchers observed a progressive decrease in FEV1 and FVC from training without a face mask (3.94 and 4.7, respectively) to training with a surgical mask (3.23 and 3.77) to training with an FFP2 mask (2, 94 or 3.52; P. <0.001 for comparison) according to the results.

In addition, the researchers observed progressively lower VO2 uptake and CO2 production with a decrease in breathing rate.

At peak loads, participants had a higher degree of dyspnea, assessed on the Borg scale, while wearing surgical and FFP2 masks (5 and 9, respectively). Even with peak load, VO2 uptake (31, 27.5 or 28.2; P = 0.001), ventilation (92, 76 or 72; P = 0.003), respiratory rate (42, 38 or 37; P = 0.04) and the tidal volume (2.28, 2.05 and 1.96, respectively; P = 0.001) were gradually reduced from wearing without a face mask to wearing a surgical mask to wearing an FFP2 mask.

“This reduction is modest and above all means no risk for healthy people who exercise with a face mask, even if they are working at maximum capacity. While we wait for more people to be vaccinated against COVID-19, this finding could have practical implications for daily life, such as making opening gyms indoors safer, ”Mapelli said in a related press release. “However, we shouldn’t assume that this also applies to people with heart or lung diseases. We need to do more research to examine this question. “

No adverse events were reported. The researchers did not observe a significant difference in oxygen saturation when wearing a mask.

The researchers found that the study was small and only conducted in healthy middle-aged adults; Therefore the results are preliminary and need to be confirmed in larger groups.

More research is underway on the effects of wearing a face mask in patients with heart and lung conditions, as well as in healthy individuals who do daily activities such as climbing stairs or doing household chores, according to the press release.

Reference:

Press release.

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