Wearing a mask at the gym can be uncomfortable, but a new study should reassure gym-goers that it poses no real health risks.
“We found that it’s safe to run at the peak of exercise in both an N95 mask and a fabric mask,” said researcher Dr. Matthew Kampert of the Cleveland Clinic.
His team tested 20 healthy people, with an average age of 37, who ran on a treadmill to maximum exhaustion wearing an N95 mask, a fabric mask and no mask.
None of the participants had safety problems while exercising in any type of mask, and the monitors showed no abnormal heart rhythms or dangerous drops in oxygen levels.
The main reason participants stopped exercising was discomfort from the mask, according to the study, published June 30 in the journal JAMA Network Open.
Kampert noted that the study did not include people with chronic conditions, heart or lung problems, and recommended that people with underlying conditions talk to their doctor about exercising with or without a mask.
People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can play indoor sports without a mask, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“If they have not been vaccinated, they should continue to wear a mask for their own safety, but those who are vaccinated are not required to wear a mask, and the CDC does not recommend it at this time,” Kampert said in a clinic press release.