COVID-19: Should you be jogging or running with a nose mask on?

* Chinese suffer collapsed lung (pneumothorax) for running with nose masks on

* What consumers need to know if they are planning to do so

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Experts have said that aerobic (needing oxygen) exercises could improve brain function for all consumers.

In view of the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic in the global community, they say even those who have more sedentary lifestyles also could see improvements in cognitive function via exercises.

Recent studies have found how different types of exercise ─ everything from yoga to high intensity interval training ─ can help boost consumers’ brain function, according to ConsumerAffairs.

Currently, researchers from the American Academy of Neurology also have discovered that engaging in aerobic exercise can be a great way for consumers to stay mentally sharp especially during crisis period as Coronavirus pandemic.

The findings were overwhelmingly positive, even for those who were older and didn’t exercise on a regular basis.

“As we all find out eventually, we lose a bit mentally and physically as we age. But even if you start an exercise programme later in life, the benefit to your brain may be immense,” says researcher Marc J. Poulin, PhD.

However, The Indian Express reports that with the nose or face mask covering one’s mouth, the flow of air through the nose is constricted when one is jogging or running using this important Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Then, should you be running or jogging with a nose mask on? It was learnt that recently, a Chinese man suffered shortness of breath and had to undergo surgery when his condition worsened after a jog with a mask on for 2.5 miles in Wuhan, the historic city of the Coronavirus outbreak in China.

Report reveals that the man, who had started jogging a couple of weeks earlier, suffered from a collapsed lung, known by its medical term pneumothorax, which happens when air leaks outside the lungs.

Earlier, two teenagers were reported to have died in separate incidents when they were taking part in track events as part of two distinct physical examinations while wearing masks to protect themselves from the infectious COVID-19 infection.

According to the report, whereas it is not clear whether putting on masks while running and jogging caused these incidents, experts from the medical as well as fitness field are of the opinion that high-intensity exercises such as running and jogging must be done with extreme caution while wearing nose masks. But why?

A family on a jogging exercise during COVID-19 pandemic

It was further stated that generally, any cardiovascular activity increases one’s breathing which results in the person panting and then even breathing from the mouth.

With the mask covering one’s mouth, the flow of air through the nose is constricted and even the breathing from the mouth is difficult, which might result in trouble for some.

Dr. Ravi Shekhar Jha, Senior Consultant and Head of Department of Pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Faridabad, explained how it happens.

Shekhar Jha said: “A tight-fitting mask like N95 adds inspiratory resistance which increases the work of breathing.

“A mask which is not valved, changes the blood gas equation, and it leads to a special phenomenon called PEEP (Positive End-Expiratory Pressure).”

The expert said that this PEEP may lead to pneumothorax (punctured lungs), especially when there is too much strain on lungs, like when we are running, or doing strenuous exercise,” he said.

But what type of mask could you use when you head out for a run or jogging? Again, Dr Jha suggested that one seeks a mask with a valve which has an “expiratory port” so that when one breathes out heavily, like during running, airway resistance is increased only mildly.

“Jogging or running fast is an activity in which more oxygen is needed to meet the extra demand of energy of the body, and wearing a mask while running is not advisable as a person may find it difficult to catch required oxygen and may faint, opined Dr. Animesh Arya, Senior Consultant, Respiratory Medicine at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, in India.

Dr. Arya stated that if at all one needs to jog or run, prefer stationary jogging at home near the window, in the garden, balcony or lawn without a mask.

Crowded places for jogging must be avoided,” he said.

How about wearing a surgical mask while running or jogging? He declared that “N95 masks should be avoided as they are primarily for healthcare workers, and other surgical masks are worn to save others if we have any type of infection.

“In daily life, one can wear simple double-layered cloth masks. Before going out of the house, make sure it is not too tight or too lose and covers the required area.

“Follow every other required precaution as well and stay safe,” asserted Dr Arya.

So, in view of the current situation of the pandemic which demands all of us to wear masks and follow proper physical distancing norms, certified fitness trainers like Sameeran Chetia believe it is better to indulge in low-intensity exercises.

“Due to the prevailing situation, people have started using masks and scarfs to cover their mouth and nose.

“It’s good to see people becoming socially responsible towards each other. If people want to wear a mask while running, then I would suggest they do low-intensity exercises.

“They can opt for walking, brisk walking or slow jogging which will put less strain on their breathing.

“I personally wouldn’t recommend high-intensity running,” he remarked.

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