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Is it okay to exercise while wearing a mask?

The chairman of the Respiratory Institute at the Cleveland Clinic weighs in on whether or not you should be working out with a mask on.

CLEVELAND — By now, you’ve probably heard the reasoning behind wearing masks in public places.

"So when you wear a mask, you protect me and when I wear a mask, I protect you," says Dr. Raed Dweik, the chairman of the Respiratory Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. "So when we all wear masks, then everybody is protected, and that’s the intention."

However, as gyms, fitness centers, and pools reopen and the weather warms up, is it still recommended to wear one while exercising?

"Yeah, I think I see no reason why people cannot exercise while wearing a mask," Dweik told 3News. "It may make breathing a little harder, but it’s not something impossible to do."

Despite some of the theories out there, Dweik says there are no adverse effects to wearing masks while working out.

"People have looked at that and definitely the masks, especially the cloth masks—they’re not tight enough to cause you to re-inhale your own breath, for example," he explained. "So I really encourage people, especially at gyms, to observe social distancing and wearing masks."

Dweik says if you prefer to exercise without a mask, you should do it at home or outside. He suggests tennis, jogging, or swimming.

"I don’t think in the pool the mask is necessary in the pool, that’s probably one area," he conceded. "Especially when it’s outdoor, I’m assuming. So if you’re not in an indoor place where you’re at close proximity to people, there’s no need for the mask."

However, if you plan to work out indoors or with a group, Dweik says the mask is important, so get one that fits you.

"I think there are so many masks out there, I encourage people to try ones that work well for them and just wear them, he said. "I think as long as you get the right mask for yourself, it should not be a problem."

While we may not be used to breaking a sweat with our nose and mouth covered, Dweik says to remember why we’re doing this.

"There are some inconveniences of course to wearing a mask, but really I think the benefits of protecting yourselves and others much more important and way out weigh the inconveniences you have," he declared.

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