Q&A: Masks Outside?

There’s a lot of confusion (and misinformation) about wearing masks, especially when it comes to exercise and physical activities outside. David Gealt, DO, sports medicine specialist at Cooper University Health Care, gave us the facts about wearing a mask outside.


Q: Should I wear a mask on my run?

A: “If you are running or walking alone outside, you don’t need to wear a mask,” says Gealt. “If you will be around others, social distancing is extremely important. If running, you may even want to increase to 10-12 feet because you disperse more air droplets as you breathe harder.”

He suggests keeping a mask in hand while running or hiking, so you can put it on as you pass other individuals.


Q: Are there health risks if I wear a mask while exercising?

A: “Exercising with a mask can be uncomfortable but it isn’t dangerous to your health,” he says. “The mask may retain more moisture with breathing hard and also can add mucus in the fabric. Individuals wearing glasses with the mask while running often may see the glasses fog up.”

The good thing, he says, is that if you’re in an outdoor area that allows for at least 6 feet of physical distancing, you shouldn’t have to wear the mask for too long.


Q: What’s the proper way to wear a mask?

A: “Your face covering should fit snugly, but comfortably against the side of the face,” Gealt says. “It should cover from above your nose to under your chin, be secured with ties or ear loops, include multiple layers of fabric, allow for breathing without restriction and be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.”

And always, he adds, thoroughly wash your hands before putting on your mask and after removing it.

August 2020
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