City doctors warn against usage of mask during exercise or running


With the Health department planning to open jogging tracks inside apartments, it will soon be a common scene to find people back on jogging tracks inside apartment complexes with masks on. Currently, many joggers and runners are flocking parks and roads with masks on. However, the city doctors say that it is not a nice idea to wear masks. Well-known pulmonologist Dr. Ganesh Pratap from Prakriya hospital said, “If you are an athlete or a regular jogger with no pre-existing lung or heart disease, then exercise up to brisk walk and yoga are accepted. But definitely not running and jogging with masks on. Because during exercise, our muscles demands 20 times more oxygen supply. To supply this need, heart and lungs together work at 20 times to supply the demand. As we breathe air through our nose, wearing mask will be like obstacle and causes throttling which constrains the immediate need of oxygen supply.”

Dr Suriraju (Medical Director of Regal Hospital) said, “Any mask reduces the flow of air and hence reduces the blood oxygen levels. One can become more easily fatigued while exercising with face mask. This is because of reduced oxygen to muscles and as compensation body uses a different method (anaerobic or oxygen-free metabolism) to produce the required energy. However, over a period of time, the body tries to compensate and becomes increasingly efficient to utilise the available oxygen. Exercising with a mask is like an extra layer of stress on the body that may be useful to some or detrimental to others.” He also added that the individual may get certain specific symptoms such as light headless, tingling, numbness, breathlessness. This may occur more frequently during the initial period of starting to exercise. The symptoms may reduce when the body gets adjusted to the new mode of exercising.

Regal Hospital’s intensivist Dr Shashi Bhaskara said, “The need for exercising depends on what the individual has been accustomed to. Reduced exercises for an individual who has a vigorous fitness regimen or lack of exercises for someone with minimal workout regimen before the pandemic may cause harm to the body. This harm may be anything form just unhealthy weight gain with its accompanied medical complications to psychological disturbances due to the change in routine. The pandemic situation may last for a while and one cannot wait for it to end to stay healthy. Adequate exercises have always been beneficial for health.”

Neeraj Lal (vice-president and cluster-head of Rainbow Children’s Hospital) suggested that it was better to exercise in home as much as possible, there won’t be any need of using mask if your home is not over crowded. “If you want to exercise outside home, prefer areas where no one is there or you are socially distanced for more than 10 mts and you can unmask yourself and continue your workouts. But as soon as you come across people, one should have to wear their mask back,” he said suggesting that house hold works are the best replacement for gym workouts. Doing yoga at stagnant place or slow walk is well accepted. Cardio workouts requiring high calorie burn should be avoided wearing mask especially in elderly and pre-existing diseases. Always prefer open areas to exercise where one can unmask and do their work outs.

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