New K-State study finds face masks do not impair a workout

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Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 7:47 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A new study from Kansas State University kinesiology researchers finds wearing a face mask while exercising does not impair a workout.

They studied eleven healthy men and women working out wearing three different types of face masks: surgical, flannel, and an N95, as well as no mask. Researchers said their findings revealed there was no compromise in oxygen levels.

Carl Ade, associate professor of kinesiology at K-State said, “The team did find that while wearing masks increased feelings of shortness of breath, maximal exercise capacity was not compromised nor were there any significant alternations of primary cardiovascular responses, including arterial pressure, stroke volume and cardiac output, regardless of exercise intensity.”

Ade’s research team was made up of kinesiology graduate students Vanessa-Rose Turpin, Shannon Parr, Stephen Hammond, Zachary White, Ramona Weber, Kiana Schulze, and Trenton Colburn, along with David Poole, university distinguished professor of kinesiology, and anatomy and physiology.

Poole said, “This data supports that wearing a mask, especially when indoors and in close proximity to others, should not be perceived as a barrier to exercise performance.”

The team’s findings also show why it’s important to stay active.

“Fitbit data from around the world indicate that physical activity has been substantially reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Poole said. “And yet, physical activity is crucial for our mental and physical health. Protecting our cardiovascular and immune systems is extra important, particularly during this time of COVID.”

Their study titled, “Does wearing a face mask decrease arterial blood oxygenation and impair exercise tolerance?” was recently published in the journal Respiratory and Physiology & Neurobiology.

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