Since we've been back at the studio, the biggest change for me has been wearing a mask. Though our cleaning protocol is a little more intense, we have always kept a very clean studio and I haven't really felt much of a change there. Even coming through one door and leaving through another hasn't been much of an adjustment. But for me as a trainer and for my clients working out, wearing a mask definitely takes some getting used to.
I decided to do a bit of internet research on wearing a mask and working out to see what the experts say. I found some useful information and I've compiled a few ideas to keep in mind when working out with a mask.
- First of all, listen to your body. If you start to feel dizzy, lightheaded, or short of breath stop working out, step outside and breathe. If you have underlying respiratory conditions, talk to your doctor first. See how you tolerate a mask. Wear a mask working out at home for 10 -15 min and see how you do before going back to your regular workout routine.
- Start slowly. Even if you've been working out at home through quarantine, it'll feel different wearing a mask. Slow down and don't expect to workout at the same pace as you could before. You may find that you fatigue more quickly. Lower the intensity of the workout to begin and see how you feel. Again, listen to your body.
- Choose a facemask that is comfortable, fits well and is wicking. Avoid paper masks because you'll sweat and they won't keep their form. Also avoid cotton masks for the same reason if you have intense workouts where you're breathing more heavily. There are so many masks available now and many are made from light weight athletic wicking material with removable filters. You may want a clean fresh mask halfway through your workout, so come prepared with an extra. Do not reuse surgical masks and wash your mask after each use.
From what I've read, working out with a mask is safe. If you find that wearing a mask is just too uncomfortable, you have the option of virtual workouts in the comfort of your home without a mask. Some instructors have even brought equipment/props outside to workout in the fresh air to make clients more comfortable.
Covid has definitely created a new normal. I'm amazed at how we are all adapting and managing to do the things we love, while continuing to stay safe.
I will say that I'm not a fan of wearing a mask, and admittedly I prefer a virtual or outdoor class. However, I continue to remind myself of the reason behind wearing them, and I'm just glad I can be back with my clients, reconnecting, improving their well-being and enjoying an hour of almost normal.
--Leanne Bourassa, Senior STOTT PILATES® Instructor and MELT Instructor