NEWS & ANALYSIS

MASKERCISE? CDC Releases New Guidelines on Masks While Exercising


Over the last year, masks have become a routine part of our daily lives. In some places, you even have to wear them while walking outside.

For those wondering whether or not you have to wear one while working out, fear not: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines for exercising.

Based on a study of a gym-related COVID-19 outbreak in Chicago in late summer of 2020, the CDC said, “to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission in exercise facilities, employees and patrons should wear a mask, even during high-intensity activities (10) while ≥6 ft apart.

However, according to a study, wearing a mask while exerting strenuous physical activity takes a huge toll on the body.

The study, published in Clinical Research in Cardiology, revealed that “exercise capacity and comfort are reduced by surgical masks and highly impaired by…face masks in healthy individuals,” according to The Federalist.

“Medical face masks have a marked negative impact on cardiopulmonary capacity that significantly impairs strenuous physical and occupational activities,” the study said. “In addition, medical masks significantly impair the quality of life of the wearer. These effects have to be considered versus the potential protective effects of face masks on viral transmissions.”

A different study, published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Sports Medicine, tracked the heart rate of 23 healthy people from various athletic backgrounds while they walked on a treadmill for six minutes, one time with a mask and one without.

“The laboratory study to investigate the physiological effect of wearing a facemask found that it significantly elevated heart rate and perceived exertion,” the study found. “Those participating in exercise need to be aware that facemasks increase the physiological burden of the body, especially in those with multiple underlying comorbidities.”

Let’s repeat that: face masks increase the physiological burden of the body.

Yet, the CDC claims to “follow the science.”

Even the World Health Organization said “people should NOT wear masks while exercising,” as masks can “reduce the ability to breathe comfortably” and “promote the growth of microorganisms.”

The CDC guidelines get even more ridiculous.

“Remove your mask if it gets moist from sweat and replace it with a clean mask while exercising. Have  more than one mask on hand so that you can easily replace a moist mask with a dry one.”

So, not only do you have to wear a mask to the gym, but you have to bring several extras and be prepared to swap it out every time it gets sweaty.

In covering the story, NBC News also had some absurd ideas, including wearing a mask while you shower.

“It’s best to avoid the showers if possible, since you can’t get masks wet – otherwise they lose their efficacy,” NBC urged. “If you need to shower at the gym, shower as quickly as possible and only remove your mask when your face and head is going to get wet.”

The CDC guidelines go beyond just not making sense, the ambiguity and conflicting nature of them has led to confrontation taking place within workout facilities because of a combination of people wanting to wear masks, people not wanting to wear masks, clubs setting their own rules, and state and local municipalities setting conflicting rules.

Nowhere is the conflict more present than in the State of Illinois and the suburbs of Cook County. At the state level, masks are no longer required while actually exercising. However, governmental authorities at lower levels are allowed to implement policies that are more restrictive than those of the state requirement if they so choose. Cook County has issued their requirements that masks be worn at all times during exercise. The issue gets further complicated by the fact that municipalities are allowed to have different rules from those of the county, but only if they have their own independent health department, something most municipalities do not have.

The result has been mass confusion and conflict among club members and managers. Some clubs in the suburbs are requiring masks when they do not need to, while others are not requiring them to be worn despite government rules that mandate use.

One Chicago suburban gym manager of a large national chain who wished to remain anonymous told Human Events News that the conflict between clients is daily.

“We have people who come into the gym with their smartphone camera and walk around taking pictures of people who do not have masks on tight,” they said. “They then stand in the gym and text the picture to the local police department and village hall and wait for the cops to show up to report people. They aren’t even here to exercise. Just to turn people in.”

The CDC and Biden Administration’s statements that people must continue to wear masks even after vaccination means that this sort of confusion and confrontation is not going away any time soon.