• Kamlesh Thakur

Working out with masks on?


Is it viable?

At the end of the day, the transition to mask-wearing might take some time, but here are some tips to help you pick and choose as well as to get yourself acclimated to making this your new normal (not that you have a choice).


How to find a mask that's right for you:

  • Choose a version that you’re comfortable wearing while exercising. There both single and multi-layer options to choose from, and each one offers varying levels of protection. Your choice is based upon the desire for more layers, which may offer greater protection from respiratory droplets, or a single layer, which may improve breathing during exercise. Of course, wearing any mask in general will reduce the spread of respiratory particulates

  • For homemade masks, recent evidence suggests that combining a layer of high thread count cotton with a layer of silk may offer protection that’s on par with medical-grade masks. Research also shows that vacuum cleaner bag material may offer good protection against the spread of droplets as well. The CDC has instructions for making your own face coverings here

  • The right fit is critically important — over the nose, not too loose, not too tight. If there are gaps along the edges of the mask where air can escape, the effectiveness decreases substantially

  • Make sure it’s washable. The CDC recommends washing your mask between each use and drying either flat in direct sunlight or on the highest temperature. Follow the care instructions on your mask to maintain its efficacy when you’re wearing it

How to get used to wearing a mask:

  • Try wearing your mask at home for a period of time to get acclimated to the fit.

  • While wearing the mask, focus on nasal breathing as instructed above

  • Continue to mentally remind yourself that while the mask may initially feel strange, you are in fact breathing in oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide

  • Make sure your mask is clean and dry. Bring extra, clean masks to change into in case your mask becomes wet from sweat or heavier breathing

  • Damp masks are not only less effective, but they may make it more difficult to breathe

How to get used to working out at the gym wearing a mask:

  • Initially, you may want to shorten your workouts as you get used to exercising in a mask

  • Adjust the intensity of your workout or increase your rest periods between sets or intervals

  • Change your environment. If there are portions of your workout you can do outside, you may not need to wear your mask in those settings (check state / county mandates)

It goes without saying that if you’re not feeling well, the best choice is to stay home and connect with your healthcare provide on next steps.


As we all navigate our way forward and adjust our etiquette at the club, remember that your health, safety, and fitness are our top priority.


While wearing a mask during exercise may not feel ideal, there’s no question that getting in your regular exercise is paramount to your health.


Exercising with a mask on is still hands-down better than not exercising at all.

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