3 Tips to Training with a Mask on
Wearing masks everywhere we go. The new normal, and certainly new for most of us.
But, training with a mask on is actually not a new trend for some athletes. Training masks like an elevation mask or an altitude training mask are known to help athletes boost lung capacity and improve endurance.
People who use elevation masks claim that they use them to improve their speed, endurance, and strength.
The purpose of these masks is to cause you to breathe more deeply while training. They do that by actually reducing the airflow entering your lungs. Your lungs are therefore pushed to work harder. That helps to condition breathing more deeply without a mask on.
Over time, your lungs can get used to how much oxygen that comes into your lungs. The idea behind the masks is that you can improve your breathing efficiency and endurance. On game or race day, your body is pre-conditioned to use oxygen more easily.
The result? Peak performance. But that’s extreme for most athletes, and really, can be further discussed in a more advanced article, later.
In this article, we’re just going to give you tips on how to train with a medical mask on.
Is it safe to train with a mask on?
As mentioned above, when you wear a mask while training, your lungs, heart, and body are all forced to work harder.
*Certainly, check with your physician who’s aware of your pre-existing conditions that might preclude training with a mask on. If you have an underlying cardiovascular or respiratory condition such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis, and any other conditions that affect the heart or lungs, avoid training with a mask on.
For those not living with any pulmonary or circulatory system conditions, you can do just about any exercise with a mask on. Just make sure you’re paying extra attention to how you’re feeling while training. If you start feeling dizzy, lightheaded or are having trouble breathing, stop at once.
What happens when you exercise with a face mask on?
The flow of air into your lungs is decreased. Less oxygen means less blood flow to your muscles, which makes training more difficult. Less oxygen makes it harder for your body to create energy, so you may feel more tired than usual. Over time, your body will get used to it. The changes in your training won’t be overnight. It will take time.
How to know you’re getting enough oxygen?
If you’re able to work out comfortably and you’re not feeling dizzy or light-headed indicates you’re getting enough oxygen.
What to expect
When you’re training with a mask on, you will most likely get out of breath quicker and may feel tired easier. You may even have less energy overall. You could experience some dizziness, tingling, or shortness of breath. Don’t be afraid to take more breaks than usual if you need them.
3 tips for training with a mask on:
- Don’t push yourself too hard
Especially if you’re lifting heavy weights, putting yourself in danger when training is a no-no. Always be aware of how you’re feeling, making sure you’re not getting light-headed, dizzy, short of breath, or start to feel tingles.
- Be patient
Remember why you’re wearing the mask to train to begin with. The goal is to keep you, your family, and others safe. Be patient. Soon enough, you’ll be able to train in public without a mask. When that day comes and you can take the mask off when you’re training, your body will be even stronger.
- Alternative: wear a buff instead
Instead of wearing a mask, which may cause trouble breathing, get in the way and fall down, or get damp relatively quickly. You can use a buff. People wear buffs for colder weather training to keep their air warmer, making it easier to breathe. Most buffs available are designed to absorb moisture on long runs.
We hope you’ve learned how working out with a mask on can help accelerate your body getting stronger over time!
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