Preliminary findings of an Italian study have revealed that face masks can be worn safely during intense workout sessions at indoor gyms. Experts have said that using face masks at indoor gyms while doing intense exercise will prevent the further spread of COVID19. This study has been done by experts from the Monzino Cardiology Center (CCM) in Milan and the University of Milan. Scientists have tested the rate of breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen level of six women and men, who have been working out in exercise bikes with and without wearing masks. As per the findings of the report, people who have been wearing face masks have seen a 10 percent reduction in their ability to do intense exercise. They have found it a little difficult to breathe through the face covering. Dr. Massimo Mapelli, a cardiologist at CCM has said that the reduction is quite meek and it does not pose a risk to healthy people who exercise while wearing masks even if they are working out at their best capacity. He has said that as more people are yet to be vaccinated against the COVID19, the outcomes of this report might have practical implications in people’s daily life. It will as well allow indoor gyms to reopen safely for people. The findings of this report have been released in the European Respiratory Journal.
Experts have enrolled healthy volunteers who have been in the average age range of 40 years in the study. Participants of the study have been asked to perform three rounds of exercise, one without wearing face masks and another round with a single-use surgical mask, and the last one with FFP2 masks. Experts have said that the thick FFP2 mask has led to a reduction of 10 percent in peak oxygen uptake. On the other hand, a thin-layered surgical mask has resulted in a slightly smaller effect. Health experts have been studying whether wearing masks will impact people’s ability to perform daily tasks such as household works, or climbing stairs. They have been analyzing healthy people and people with heart and lung issues. Professor Sam Bayat from Grenoble University Hospital, who has not been associated with the new report, has said that the findings of the new study are preliminary and need to be validated through further studies with larger groups of people. With the new findings, experts have suggested that face masks can be worn safely during indoor sports and health activities and it will have minimal impact on people’s performance.
Gyms and indoor health facilities are going to reopen in the UK after 12 April 2021. As per the existing guidelines, people do not require to wear face masks while exercising. However, they need to use face coverings while using other indoor leisure facilities. The officials from the UK government have not commented on the findings of the Italian study yet. The officials from UK active that stands for gyms and leisure centers in the UK have said that the study has been based on very limited data; therefore, further studies are needed for including the findings in the current guidelines. They have said that people should practice the guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) that says face masks are not required while doing exercise. Experts have said that gyms in the UK are safe to reopen based on the Sage-approved safety measures, which are already in place. The Sage-approved safety measures aim at social distancing, sanitization, and ventilation.