When you can, take a mask break.
Find a space without people, remove your mask and breathe normally for a few minutes before donning it again, Dryden suggests.
At the same time, make sure you aren’t obstructing your breathing with other behaviors like slouching. “Good posture helps the lungs expand,” Dryden says. “And since sitting can make it more difficult to fill the lungs, just standing and taking a deep breath does wonders.”
Don’t wear a mask when you don’t have to.
If you’re driving alone in a car, for instance, you can — and should — take your mask off, Dryden says. “It can lead to disorientation and confusion. That could contribute to an accident,” he says. Feel free to go mask-less at home, unless a family member is battling COVID or was recently exposed.
Lower the intensity and length of workouts.
People who live by their daily runs or like to bike around town face additional challenges. “If you’re exerting yourself or exercising, your respiration and heart rate speed up and your temperature rises,” Dryden says. “Wearing a mask intensifies all of that. You’re not going to have adequate oxygenation.”
The solution: Accept the new normal. “We need to adopt the mindset that we can’t function the way we usually do,” he says. “You can still get in some exercise but at a slower clip.”
Dryden suggests taking the intensity of exercise down a notch and breaking it up into small chunks. “If you take breaks in between to hydrate and cool your body temperature down, and then get right back to your workout, you can still exercise, but in an effective, responsible way,” he says.
A cloth mask may be preferable for outdoor workouts. “A medical mask is very hard to exercise with outdoors,” he says. “Once you start to sweat, it’s likely to break apart.” And since you generate more heat wearing a mask, be sure to hydrate!