Masks are safe during high intensity exercise, according to preliminary studies.

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A preliminary article published by the prestigious medical journal European Respiratory Journal, argues that the facemasks are safe and effective in the practice of high-intensity exercise.

According to research findings, facemasks could help reduce the spread of COVID-19 inside gyms without noticeably interfering with the practices of even the most demanding athletes.

Their implementation reduced the capacity of subjects performing high-intensity exercise by approximately 10%.

For the researchers, this percentage of affection represents a modest and risk-free reduction for healthy people who maximize their physical capacity during exercise, reports Dr. Massimo Mapelli, a cardiologist at the Monzano Cardiology Center. The Guardian Massimo Mapelli, MD, cardiologist at the Monzino Cardiology Center (CCM).

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The study evaluated the respiratory rate, heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels of 12 subjects averaging 40 years of age, 6 women and 6 men, on exercise bikes with and without masks.

They exposed them to 3 different rounds of exercise: without a mask, with a single-use surgical mask, and with FFP2 protectors -thicker than surgical or fabric ones-. The latter had a 10% impact on peak oxygen consumption reduction, compared to the surgical one, which had a marginally smaller effect.

The scientists from the MCC and the University of Milan acknowledge that the masks are associated with a significant but modest worsening of spirometry and cardiorespiratory parameters, at rest and during the most extreme exercise. But they explain that this could be an effect caused by a reduction in ventilation due to increased resistance to airflow.

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However, they conclude, the use of face shields is safe even during intense exercise, with a slight reduction in performance, but without respiratory limitation.

“While we wait for more people to be vaccinated against COVID-19, this finding could have practical implications for everyday life, for example, making it safer to open indoor gyms,” Mapelli told The Guardian.

Other research published by Environmental Research and Public Health found that the mask has no detrimental effects on intense exercise, although it may be uncomfortable and present other health problems.

This time, the study looked at 14 young adults, some with surgical masks, some with cloth masks, and some without masks. Among them, the researchers found no difference in blood oxygen level.

Now, according to the latest findings, scientists are expected to advance research in people with previous cardiac and pulmonary pathologies.

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