How dangerous is sport

Sport with mouth and nose protection: Dangerous for your health?

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From: Jasmina Deshmeh

The first fitness studios have reopened. Training is only allowed with a mask. A health hazard? (Symbol image). © Addictive Stock / imago-images

Wearing a medical face mask while exercising is not a particularly pleasant idea. But if you want to train in the gym in times of Corona, you have no other choice. A health hazard?

Milan / Berlin - The first fitness studios have reopened in some German federal states. There, as in other public places, the mask requirement applies. Since sport is strenuous and appears to be even more strenuous with mouth and nose protection, many fitness fans wonder whether the mask poses a health risk during training. A team of researchers from Milan got to the bottom of this question in a study that was recently presented in the European Respiratory Journal.

Wearing a mask during sports: test subjects can perform less well

The study shows that when wearing a mask, it is more difficult for test subjects to inhale and exhale. With a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask, their performance is therefore reduced by 10 percent. "This reduction is small - what matters is that it does not indicate a risk for healthy people who exercise with a face mask, even if they reach their maximum capacity," explains cardiologist Massimo Mapelli from the University of Milan, co-author of the study.

However, this is a small study that only included twelve women and men. All subjects are not professional athletes, on average 40 years old and healthy. For the study, the people trained with and without a mask on a bicycle ergometer, while the researchers measured the following parameters:

  • Cardiac activity
  • Blood pressure
  • breathing
  • Oxygen levels in the blood

Wear a mask while exercising: Mouth and nose protection can make training in the gym safer

So healthy people do not have to worry, even with intensive exercise wearing a mask. * "While we wait for more people to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, these findings could help make it safer to open gyms," explains Mapelli. Whether other rules apply to people with heart or lung diseases still has to be investigated in detail.

The researchers are not the first to deal with the topic of “training with a mask”. In July 2020, scientists at the University of Leipzig had already examined the resilience and performance of twelve healthy men at the age of 38 with mouth and nose protection. This study also showed that maximum performance and maximum oxygen uptake are reduced with both surgical face masks and FFP2 masks. However, only healthy, relatively young participants were taken into account here as well. * is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA

This article only contains general information on the respective health topic and is therefore not intended for self-diagnosis, treatment or medication. Under no circumstances does it replace a visit to the doctor. Unfortunately, our editors are not allowed to answer individual questions about clinical pictures.