Comfort, breathability important: Expert tips for wearing a mask while exercising

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Pennsylvania's mask mandate has many fitness buffs asking what's the best mask to wear while exercising?

The goal is to protect others but we also need something breathable.

Kyle Johnson, a physical therapist at Excel Physical Therapy, says first, find one that's comfortable.

"That is probably the most important thing because it doesn't matter if it's the best mask, if it's uncomfortable and you're not going to wear it and then it's not going to help you much," he said.

He recommends trying different kinds of masks.

The goal is to balance breathability with lowering the risk for transmission.

In order to block more respiratory droplets, a double-layer mask is best, even better if you can add a filter. And a cotton blend will be more breathable.

Johnson says you may feel tempted to take shorter breaths through your chest, but deeper breathing through the diaphragm is better.

"Breathing in through their nose, expanding the ribcage, into the belly and then exhaling nice and slowly," he explains.

Also, give your body time to get used to wearing a mask while exercising before you increase intensity and watch for signs of trouble such as dizziness, shortness of breath, or numbness or tingling in your body.

"You can stop, take a breath, regain control of your respiration and then you can go on with your exercise," Johnson said.

He also says a good way to help slow your breathing down is by taking a slow breath in for four seconds, hold for four seconds and then exhale slowly over four seconds. This helps to regain control of your breathing, your heart rate and will fill your lungs with oxygen to bring you back to baseline.
Copyright © 2020 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.