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Wear a mask while exercising indoors at gyms

Topic: Wear a mask while exercising indoors at gyms

The face masks from brand HALOLIFE just became some of the first to get certified, proven to meet the first ever standard for reusable face masks from ASTM International, which released those specifications last month. The standard established best practices for manufacturing face masks, a dire need in the face mask space, according to experts we consulted throughout 2020 and into 2021. Establishing universal safety standards for face coverings can help the U.S. return to work and social activities, echoed HALOLIFE CEO Keith Anderson in a press release.

And going to the gym is one of those activities: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently shared new guidance about gyms following research into high rates of coronavirus transmission at gyms and fitness centers in Hawaii and Chicago over the summer of 2020, noting gym-goers and gym staff “should wear a face mask” at fitness facilities across the country. The recommendation to wear masks applies even when gym patrons and staff are socially distanced, as well as for those who’ve been vaccinated. In its otherwise newly released guidance for those who are fully vaccinated, the CDC advises to “keep taking precautions in public places like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.”

The CDC published its conclusions about gyms in Morbidity and Mortality Reports, a weekly roundup of public health news. The instances in Hawaii and Chicago emphasize the importance of “consistent and correct mask use,” and how “increased respiratory exertion facilitates Covid transmission,” the CDC shared in the report. Researchers urged gyms to require patrons wear masks during exercise and practice physical distancing, as well as improve ventilation and decrease class sizes. While many states have some sort of mask mandate in place, they don’t all require gym-goers to wear masks while working out. Some fitness centers like Planet Fitness, for example, created their own mask mandates, while others allow people to exercise bare-faced.

The most critical Covid mitigation measure overall is wearing a face mask, and this is especially true while exercising, according to Jessica Steier, doctor of public health and CEO of healthcare data analytics company Vital Statistics Consulting and Andrea Love, PhD, an immunologist and microbiologist. Steier and Love explained that when you exercise, you have more forceful and rapid respiration. This means you’re exhaling and inhaling a larger volume of air. In turn, the relative risk of exposure to Covid droplets may be increased compared to standing still in the same space. And physical distancing alone won’t protect you.

“Six feet is an average distance these respiratory droplets can spread — some will travel shorter distances, some further,” said Love, an immunology consultant for Vital Statistics Consulting. “Indoors, you should be coupling mask wearing, the primary mitigation measure, with distancing, improved ventilation and proper hygiene.”

Topic Discussed: Wear a mask while exercising indoors at gyms

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