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I ran every day for a week while wearing my N95 mask. Here’s why you shouldn’t

Updated on:12 August 2020, 13:01pm IST
If you have been planning to run, cycle, or indulge in any outdoor physical activity while wearing a mask, this read will convince you to drop the idea.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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Here’s why running with your face mask on is a bad idea. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Even though the gyms are now open, I’m still not convinced to step inside one because let’s face it: it’s too soon to risk it all. For me, it has been almost six months since I have been working out at home and trust me it’s not all that fun. I have been itching to just go outside and sweat it out with a good long run. 

So one fine day I planned the entire thing. I noticed that in the wee hours of the day, there were less out on the roads so I decided to go for a run at 5 am. So that’s what I did. One fine Saturday, at 5 am in the morning, I wore my N95 mask, put on my running shoes, and stepped outside for a run. I did this for a week, by the way, and let me tell you: it’s the biggest fitness blunder I’ve ever made!

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I’ll tell you why:

1. I couldn’t run with the mask on at all 
I could barely run with a mask because I couldn’t breathe properly. After every 200-300 metres I used to feel out of breath, so I would take a break, catch my breath, and start all over again. So honestly, it was more like jogging and not running.

It took me a while to realise that the mask was making my lungs work double time, which is why I was feeling out of breath after running even a small distance.

exercise mask
Masks and exercise are a match made in hell. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. After the third day, I started getting headaches
Not only was I getting less oxygen, but I was also inhaling more carbon dioxide. So when I started getting headaches after day three, I checked in with Dr Samir Garde, a pulmonologist at Global Hospital Mumbai, who is suggested that this was happening because of the lack of oxygen supply in my body.

3. I felt majorly dehydrated
I thought that my fitness band had gone bonkers, given the higher than usual heart rate it was displaying. But turns out, my mask was to blame for this too. Because I was having a hard time breathing, my heart was working overtime. Not to mention, I was also sweating more than usual, which meant my body was expelling a lot of essential minerals which left me dehydrated.

4. On day seven, I vomited
The last day I went for a run, I came back home so tired and dizzy that as soon as I tried to gulp some water I vomited it out. The reason for me puking was low oxygen supply.

But that was it! After that, I learnt my lesson and have been swearing by my home workouts, because running while wearing a mask is a bad omen for my health.

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Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.