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Wearing Face Masks While Exercising Reduces Oxygen, Increases Heart Rate, Baylor Scott & White Study Says

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Doctors at Baylor Scott & White Hospital in Dallas say wearing a face mask while exercising has a significant impact on the body.

That's the result of a six-month study on the physiological effects of wearing a mask while working out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have wondered whether wearing a mask at the gym or running on a treadmill at home affects your performance, the answer, according to this Baylor research, is yes.

Thirty-one people took part in the study.

Researchers recorded vital signs and other data while participants ran on treadmills with and without cloth face coverings.

The study found less oxygen in the blood and an increased heart rate among those wearing masks.

It resulted in reduced exercised capacity by 29% and a 14% reduction in the time it took to reach exhaustion.

The researches say the study did not find exercising with a face mask was dangerous.

Researchers say the data can be useful to anyone from high level athletes to average people with active lifestyles.

"It's important as healthcare providers, as exercisers as coaches and trainers, that if you're working with an active individual who's wearing a mask it will impact the physiological performance, the athletic performance and how they perceive exercising while wearing a mask," said Dr. Simon Driver of Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy and Research.

Baylor is starting a brand new study to test the effect of wearing a face mask on cognitive skills while exercising.

They hope to have the results of that study in a few months.


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