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If you are returning to a fitness center or gym to work out, you may need to wear. But you might also consider waiting: Dr. Sandra Kesh, an infectious disease expert, skip gym classes and workouts, and warn against exercising indoors around short-term unmasked people. For your safety and that of others, it is not recommended to exercise indoors without a mask around other people you do not know. (Here̵
We’ve put some face masks designed for training to the test and found the best breathable and moisture-wicking options. We have updated this story recently.
Under the armor
Under Armor designed the UA Sportsmask with athletes in mind, but any gym enthusiast will find the mask useful if you’re looking to upgrade from a standard fabric face mask. The mask is made with three different layers designed to allow airflow while protecting you. One layer of the mask has an antimicrobial treatment called “PROTX2”.
When I tried the Under Armor mask during a cardio workout, I first noticed that it felt comfortable on my face – it didn’t stick to my mouth, which can be uncomfortable when you breathe harder. When I started sweating, I noticed that instead of feeling the warm mask I had a cold sensation, which was so good.
The mask didn’t fully absorb the moisture, but as the fabric wasn’t that tight to my mouth, it wasn’t a problem. Although the ear loops on the mask are not adjustable, they are elastic and comfortable. Overall, I was impressed with this mask and would feel comfortable wearing it in indoor or outdoor fitness environments.
The Well Movement mask is 50% cotton, so it may not stay dry during demanding sweat sessions, but for most activities it will work better than a 100% cotton mask as it is also made of polyester and spandex which does leaves sweat. The ear loops are adjustable which is a huge plus for fit and comfort. There is also a handy lanyard attached so you can wear the mask around your neck.
The best feature of the mask is the moldable nose piece so you can make sure it fits snugly and comfortably on your face. After testing this mask, I decided that it is better for walking and not for intense workouts (for those I would opt for the UnderArmour mask) as the fabric is thin but still comfortable.
Carbon38 The Mask Kit comes with two masks, plus a laundry bag for washing. The masks are made with a blend of polyester and cotton, so they dry quickly and help you stay cool. The ear loops are adjustable for a snug fit and the masks come in two sizes.
Carbon38 states that the masks are made with a multilayer filtering system to help protect you, plus the fabric has antibacterial properties. I liked the thickness of the fabric on these masks – the nosepiece is also textured to help it stay in place, which is helpful for movement. Adjustable ear loops help give it a more snug and personalized fit.
These masks would work great for a brisk walk or other low intensity workouts as they fit close to your face. They may be difficult to wear during a more intense workout.
Proper Cloth’s Everyday Mask is made from linen, has an antimicrobial treatment and contains a filter for extra barrier protection. The mask fits comfortably with the adjustable ear rings and the nose bridge is not too stiff but helps keep it anchored to the face.
I like linen fabric because it is light and breathable, but I’d wear it for more relaxing activities like walking, pilates or yoga. If you are sweating a lot, it would get damp, as linen is not the best performance fabric.
Working out in yoga clothing is much more comfortable than regular clothes, so why not take the same approach to the face mask? Yoga and sportswear brand Onzie uses recycled yoga fabrics to create face masks that are stretchy and dry quickly, just like your favorite leggings. Just a caveat: As the brand is reusing yoga apparel fabric, you can’t pick specific colors and patterns, but it’s definitely worth it for a more sustainable mask option.
When I tried the mask, I felt exactly as I expected. The mask fits your face perfectly, but the material is stretchy (like yoga pants) and breathable. Even though the ear rings are not adjustable, they are still comfortable and the mask still fits perfectly.
Since the mask is not super adjustable, I would wear it for less intense workouts that won’t let you breathe that hard. For more intense workouts, like high impact cardio, make sure you have some room around your mouth to breathe, so the UnderArmour mask would be more suitable.
Koral uses the same antimicrobial fabric to make the face masks as its sportswear, which is stretchy and quick-drying. When I put it to the test, I immediately found the soft, stretchy fabric comfortable against my face. The only thing I didn’t like about this mask is that the ear loops are not adjustable. After wearing this mask during a run or walk, you can throw it in the laundry as the mask is suitable for washing in the washing machine.
The Athleta Made to Move goggle was designed specifically for exercise, which I could tell right away when I tried the goggle. It is one of the most comfortable and breathable masks I have ever tried.
The material is light and the inside of the mask has a mesh lining. The fabrics help take care of the moisture and the mask fits perfectly, but you can still breathe. There is also an internal pocket inside the mask if you want to add a filter layer (although it’s not included). The ear rings are made of a soft elastic that won’t pull your hair and are adjustable.
The Athleta mask is great for walking or even for outdoor workouts such as jogging or cycling. As the mask is breathable and adjustable, you can rest assured it won’t fall off your face during movement.
What to look for in face masks for exercise
Fabric is one of the most important factors when it comes to training with a mask. For everyday activities, cloth masks are fine. But with exercise, the cotton gets moist very quickly, which can make breathing more difficult and can promote bacterial growth. So, for this reason, masks made with a breathable fabric similar to that used in sportswear (such as spandex or polyester) are your best bet. However, you want the mask to be breathable and comfortable as you move.
There is nothing worse than having a face mask that bends or falls as you move. First, it’s just annoying. Secondly, it will interrupt your workout if you have to stop to fix it and you will probably have to touch your face, which you should avoid doing to stay safe.
Look for a face mask that is adjustable or available in different sizes so that you can find the best fit for you. Elastic ear loops or rubber bands tend to fit snugly and don’t slip as much as masks that tie around the head.
Since sweat and moisture can be a breeding ground for bacteria, masks that have some type of antimicrobial filter or coating are ideal for physical activity. (Many of the masks on this list have these characteristics.) While these can’t actually kill or destroy a virus particle, it doesn’t hurt to have these extra barriers in place.
Also, keep in mind that no mask on this list can offer a 100% guarantee that it will protect you from the virus, no matter how many fancy features they have. But wearing a mask is simply another tool that can act as an additional barrier to help stop the spread and protect you and others.
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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as medical or health advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified health care practitioner with any questions about a medical condition or health goals.