With the partial reopening of gyms and fitness studios and more people resorting to exercising outdoors, “To wear, or not to wear facemask during workout” has become a million-dollar question.
Working out while wearing a mask is, objectively speaking, no fun – it’s hard enough to breathe without a mask when you are pushing yourself to the limit. There is also a chance of getting rashes around the nose and chin due to sweat and water accumulation which could make you hit a pause on your workouts and physical activity.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends not wearing a face mask while working out. But most gyms and fitness centers have made face coverings mandatory not only for their employees but also extended that rule to their patrons to ensure safety.
So, what to do in this quandary? If you do decide to wear a face mask, then which one do you use? Cloth or N95? With vent or without vent? With so many options, don’t feel embarrassed to be confused.
The first and foremost requirement of a workout mask is to assist you in breathing naturally so that your workout isn’t affected. This can be achieved using the right kind of fabric. Face masks ideally should have multiple layers – inner, outer, and a middle layer which could just be an insert or another fabric layer. The inner layer comes in direct contact with your face and should be made from hydrophilic material such as cotton, that easily absorbs all the droplets from your exhaled breath.
The middle layer should go into a pocket between the outer and inner layer that acts as a filter and is usually a layer of polypropylene. Finally, the outer layer should be a hydrophobic material such as polyester and spandex that can repel the droplets and moisture. You’ll also need strong loops that fit tightly around your ears that don’t require constant adjustments while you work out.
Keeping the comfort of gym-goers in mind along with WHO’s recommendations, several fitness brands have launched face masks specifically for working out. Here are a few that we recommend:
Everyday non-medical covers by Athleta by Gap. – Pack of 5
Athleta’s everyday non-medical masks are soft, breathable, and come in an assortment of five colors. These masks come in three layers – a lightweight outer layer made from polyester and spandex and two inner layers of soft cotton. With adjustable soft knit ear-loops for maximum comfort, these masks have a wire encasing along the nose bridge for a firmer fit. They can be machine washed and flat ironed.
Adidas face covers – Pack of 3
Adidas manufactured their face masks with 93% recycled polyester and 7% elastane. Coming in a pack of 3, these masks have two layers of fabric that are comfortable, washable, and reusable for practicing workouts every day. These masks can be machine washed in hot water, tumble dried, and cold-ironed for extra care. Purchase it Here
Under Armour’s sports mask
Under Armour’s innovative face mask is a total lightweight winner, made with high-performance materials designed to be worn while working out and playing sports. These are made of three layers – the outer shell of the mask is water-resistant and has breathable fabric; the inner layer has antimicrobial materials that keep the mask fresh, and the polyurethane open-cell foam allowing air to pass through. Hand wash and flat ironing are recommended to keep these masks fresh and reusable. Available Here
Onzie made their face masks from upcycled activewear material. With multiple layers of fabric, these masks are made of full flex spandex tech on the exterior and a high performing inner lining with soft-touch spandex straps. They are stretchy, have comfort fit, quick-drying, and are breathable – perfect for a safe workout.
Stylish and easy to use, Smrtft masks are lightweight and made of micro-knit filter fabric that blocks 99% of ultra-fine dust particles. These masks are designed with 42% nylon, 12% polyurethane, and 46% polyester making them perfect for use despite washing 100 times.
Hanes Signature Stretch to fit masks – Pack of 6
Refinery29’s best pick for summer’s most breathable masks, Hanes masks come with two layers of coverage – 94% nylon, 3% polyester/3% spandex They are lightweight, comfortable for everyday wear with cold comfort moisture-wicking fabric. It’s advised to dispose of each mask after 15 washes and hence they come in a pack of 6. Available for purchase Here
Reebok Face Covers – Pack of 3
Comfortable, reusable, and washable, Reebok’s pack of 3 face coverings comprises 93% recycled polyester and 7% elastane. These masks have two layers of fabric, are a tight fit for maximum coverage, and stretch around the ears.
Sold at Dick’s Sporting goods, the black strap sustainable mask has antimicrobial and moisture-wicking properties. It comes with a dual-layer construction with a tightly woven outer shell and a breathable liner. This gently soft mask is made with re-purposed fabrics such as polyester and nylon and requires machine wash and dry.
American Eagle’s face mask features an antimicrobial finish to help prevent the growth of bacteria. This water-resistant and reusable face mask has two layers – the outer layer has 74% polyamide and 26% elastane, while the inner layer is 100% polypropylene.
Uniqlo’s Airism Face Mask – Pack of 3
Uniqlo’s Airism face mask comes with a high-performance filter that keeps the skin dry from water and sweat. It comes with three layers – the first layer is AIRism fabric that wicks away moisture, the second is a washable built-in filter, and the last layer again uses the same AIR ism mesh to block the UV rays. The body of the face mask is made up of 90% nylon, 10 % spandex, and the filter is a 100% polypropylene.
With winter approaching, more people will start switching from outdoor workouts to hitting the gym. While it may be difficult to give up exercising altogether, give our recommended masks a try to find a balance between staying fit and staying safe.
Planning to head to the gym, here’s a how you can plan How to Get Back In The Gym Post-Pandemic (Covid-19)