When it all comes down to it, even the best workout masks aren’t perfect. There’s a reason that the WHO recommends against wearing them while exercising, if it is possible to do so while keeping adequate distance and exercising outside. That said, when it comes to reality, many gyms across the country require us to cover our faces while we exercise. If we want to use our memberships to increase metabolism and reach our goals, then it’s up to us to find the best one to get the job done.
Don’t forget that the best workout masks are a supplement to your social distancing, not a replacement. Even when you’ve got your face covered, it’s still very important to stay at least six feet away from others (if not more, when taking the heavy breathing of exercising into account).
Next, it’s best to choose a mask that fits your face very well, without leaving any gaps at the sides or around the nose. The mask must cover the nose and mouth and tuck under the chin to be effective. Typically speaking, cloth face masks made out of two or three layers of fabric that will effectively block bright light when held up to look through, are the best options for most people. The are breathable while offering the best filtration. That said, this does present two main struggles that can make it feel difficult to breathe and that can reduce the effectiveness of the protection.
The first issue is sweat and moisture from breathing heavily. Mainly, no matter the model you choose, this will require you to bring extra masks and switch them when they become damp. When your mask becomes damp, it is not effective. In fact, they may offer less protection than a bare face. Therefore, be sure to sanitize your hands carefully and change your mask when needed throughout your workout.
The second is that many cloth face masks move as you breathe. This can make it feel as though you’re sucking the fabric into your mouth when your breathing is heavier. It can be an upsetting and smothering feeling, even if you are actually getting all the air you need. In these cases, many people find that brackets are the key to choosing the best workout masks.
Make sure to choose a mask that is large enough – many models are notorious for being too small for the average adult face, to the point that many people don’t realize that they should be worn larger.
With this slight amount of extra room, these soft, silicone brackets are non-toxic and washable, and are just enough to hold the fabric of the mask away from the mouth. This small amount of added space can be all you need to eliminate the feeling of struggling to breathe.