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New study shows face masks don’t reduce your ability to breathe while exercising

Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan have shown that healthy people get enough oxygen and perform equally well during masked exercise
By: Alison Larabie Chase
November 05, 2020
Photo: John Ko (uSask)

Worried you might have a tough time breathing properly if you wear a mask while exercising? A team of kinesiology researchers at the University of Saskatchewan wanted to test that theory, so they put 14 healthy, active people through a rigorous stationary cycling test, both masked and unmasked, and measured the amount of oxygen in their blood and muscles during the workout. The concern had been that people wearing masks would see a drop in oxygen levels and the ability to perform strenuous exercise, but that proved to be untrue in all participants.

The study concluded that wearing a mask had “no discernible detrimental effect on blood or muscle oxygenation, and exercise performance in young, healthy participants.” The USask research team says these results are promising, and may help to limit the spread of COVID-19 in gyms and organized sports facilities by allowing people to take part in physical activity while masked.

Source: University of Saskatchewan

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