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To mask or not to mask while working out, health experts weigh in

Not only is the state requiring masks now but a lot of gyms are saying even when working out, you should be wearing one.

MINNEAPOLIS — It’s been nearly two months since many gyms across the country reopened their doors to gym goers with maximum capacity restrictions and mask requirements in place.

For the team at Burn Boot Camp in Maple Grove where social distancing is a must, masks however, while working out are optional. 

"We feel pretty comfortable that if we wear masks at all other times coming in the gym, out of the gym basically anytime you leave that space we’ll require the mask," said Tina Hegna of Burn Boot Camp. 

With a recent surge in COVID-19 cases across the country, many big box gyms like Planet Fitness will now require club members to wear masks at all times including while working out. This is all comes as leaders with the World Health Organization are advising you not to wear a mask while working out as it can be challenging for some. 

"Feeling light headed while they were working out, starting to feel dizzy while working out, occasionally feeling their pulse go up or potentially skip beats," described Dr. Robby Bershow, Team Physician for Minnesota United FC. 

This all begs the question should you or shouldn’t you be masking up while sweating it out?

"If you’re going to way it out between getting COVID-19 or exercising try to choose a place where you can exercise without being around people so you don’t get COVID-19," said Physician Assistant Natalie Ikeman, with Hennepin Healthcare. 

Dr. Bershow says while it is possible to exercise safely wearing a mask, it all comes down to taking things slow while allowing your body to acclimate. 

"Same reason why people go and train at higher altitudes and other things like that where your body does get used to working with potentially less oxygen or higher types of demand or stress," said Dr. Bershow. 

Bershow advises you start with low intensity exercises while masked like walking and light biking, while it may be challenging for some to exercise with a face covering.

"People with underlying heart disease or cardiovascular issues, people with underlying respiratory issues," said Bershow. 

Health experts say adapting to this new reality will ultimately save lives. 

"It is still going to be better to social distance with the mask, you know every step that we can take is going to cut down on the amount of transmission of the virus," said Bershow. 

KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit kare11.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Midwest specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and see what businesses are open as the state slowly lifts restrictions. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the KARE 11 Sunrise newsletter here. Help local families in need: www.kare11.com/give11. 

The state of Minnesota has set up a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.