The current air quality in the Lower Mainland discourages outdoor active activities, including cycling. Since wearing the mask is the new norm, many suggest wearing a mask to avoid the harmful effects of outdoor air on the respiratory system. However, is the mask just as useful to exercise as it is to prevent the spread of viruses?
Rational wearing of the mask
Several studies have shown the effectiveness of wearing the mask to reduce daily transmission of COVID-19. Since the virus is spread mainly via droplets of infected individuals (saliva and respiration), it seems that the proper wearing of the mask represents a barrier that reduces the spread of infection in public places, particularly useful when social distancing is not possible.
Breathing mechanisms during exercise
These recommendations apply on daily activities, at rest, where the metabolic demand is low. However, during exercise, oxygen requirements are higher and ventilation is therefore increased. One of the factors governing the quality of respiratory exchanges and oxygen supply to tissues is the pressure of oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the ambient air.
Wearing a mask while cycling
It can be assumed that the mask forming a barrier with the surrounding air alters breathing. Data from a study published in Medical Hypotheses suggests that exercising with a mask decreases the O2 pressure and increases the CO2 pressure of the inspired air, with the following physiological consequences: decreased peripheral vasodilation and increased cardiac load. To these are added potential undesirable such as headaches, lethargy, anxiety, and an increased risk of infections.
Yes, wearing the mask every day on public places.
While riding a bike? Not necessarily the solution. Instead, limit the duration and intensity of your workouts. To maintain the intensity, opt for the home-trainer. Why not, try a session of live stream intervals.
SIGN UP to start your FREE TRIAL !!!