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Are Face Masks a Must When Exercising Outside?

The WHO has released its updated guidelines on who should and should not wear face masks.

In a time like this, where a health crisis is causing panic in the world, it is ideal to keep ourselves healthy. Eating more fruits and vegetables, getting enough sleep, and avoiding overworking are just some of the ways to keep bodies in shape. And with staying healthy, it is also ideal to stick to a regular exercise.

But the thing is, not everyone has space in their homes to exercise. This is also why most individuals would resort to jogging around the vicinity of their house or village. However, with the threats COVID-19 still looming around, is it necessary to wear face masks when exercising outdoors? Apparently, the answer is NO.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says you shouldn’t wear face masks or coverings while exercising as it makes breathing harder, especially when you are having labored breaths because of running or walking. WHO also adds that sweat makes the mask damp and encourages the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria which could cause non-COVID-19 related infections.

face-mask-dos-and-donts
Two men keep their distance for coronavirus concerns while using a phone app to do a full body weight workout. (Photo from Jeff Chiu / AP / WBUR)

WHO notes that damp or wet masks are less effective at protecting an individual from fluids and droplets from other people, and that the best way to avoid spreading any virus is to observe physical distancing when exercising. (Read: UP lets you make your own face masks with new DIY tutorial)

Who should wear masks?

At this time, some individuals can already be exempted from wearing face masks. According to the WHO, those who still need to wear face masks are the following:

  • Anyone who will be taking public transportation
  • Anyone going to a shop
  • Anyone who is sick (with any illness/disease)
  • Anyone taking care of a sick individual
  • Anyone over 60 years old
  • Health workers and other frontliners

face-mask-dos-and-donts
Photos from Rouelle Umali / Xinhua, Fernando G. Sepe Jr. / ABS-CBN News, and Immortal Snapshots from Pexels

The following, on the other hand, may already be exempted from wearing face masks:

  • Children under 11 years old
  • Anyone who cannot remove the mask on their own
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Anyone with breathing difficulties

Click here to check some infographics from WHO on when and how to wear face masks!

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