COVID-19: Should you run with a mask on?

In the times of the COVID-19 pandemic, a quandary has faced all joggers – whether to run with a mask on or not.

The biggest problem is that you struggle to catch your breath when running with the mask on and face the threat of contracting the coronavirus if running without it. What should you do in such a situation?

A jogger’s lungs were punctured after he ran for 2.5 miles while wearing a face mask in China in May this year. The 26-year-old was a regular jogger and was back on the track to catch up on running which he missed due to two months of lockdown in China.

Initially, he jogged for 3 kilometres every day and then doubled it after a week. Seeing that all the fellow runners were wearing masks, the guy insisted on wearing a face mask despite feeling uncomfortable and suffocating at times.

One particular evening, he had run for around 2.5 miles when he felt a slight pain in his chest and breathlessness. He could not continue his run and walked back home. That night he had to be rushed to the hospital where it was diagnosed that his left lung had shrunk by 90% and had even edged his heart towards the right side of his chest.

Understandably, this piece of information seems too scary and no sane person will wear a mask while running after reading it. But, this is only one extreme case.

While running, it becomes very difficult for you to wear a mask as the body requires more oxygen during the process. If you cover your nose with a mask, less oxygen reaches your lungs, which in turn increases the possibility of damage.

The fabric used in your mask matters a lot. There are various types of masks available in the market, including ones specially designed for running. These are still not perfect, but mitigate the health hazards.

However, if you jog at a slow pace or walk briskly while wearing a mask, it shouldn’t be that big a trouble for you.

That being said, wearing a face mask while doing any physical activity makes it moist due to exhalation. Most people exhale through their mouth as opposed to their nose while doing any physical activity, which condenses in the form of water droplets inside the mask and, in fact, reduces its effectiveness.

You can go for a thin piece of cloth to cover your nose while running.

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