The answer is YES! Like many of you, I went into a sheer panic when I heard masks were mandated even when vigorously working out at all clubs except Eldersburg. Thoughts like “I am not going to be able to breathe and I am going to end up eating the mask when trying to talk while teaching” raced through my head. I was nervous to say the least, but I needed to wear a mask so I could keep myself and others safe.
I heard people talking about a “Turtle Mask”. Many people were using these, and they really liked them, so I did my research. Turns out the “Turtle Mask” is a 3D Mask Bracket Internal Support Frame, in simple terms a breathe cup for your mask. It holds up the mask fabric around your mouth to create more breathing space when your mask is put on your face. They are super easy to find. I bought mine right on Amazon for less than $10 and they came in a 5-pack. They are washable and reusable.
I wanted to test the waters first, before I made a fool of myself and had a meltdown while teaching class. So I went on a quick run. Well, I thought it would be quick because I wasn’t sure I would make it even to one mile with a mask. I ran three and a half miles on the treadmill WITH the mask on and I was okay. I couldn’t believe it. I survived wearing a mask while running. WOW!
Now on to the next task: teaching a group fitness class with the mask. At first it felt a little weird but guess what, I survived. I put out just as much energy as I normally do and I didn’t pass out. The mask didn’t stick to my face and I was going to be okay. Now, I am not going to lie, it took a few classes to get used to. But I am committed to doing what is going to keep everyone, including myself, safe. And I want to continue to be able to have classes in our clubs. I taught BODYPUMP, SPRINT and RPM, and took GRIT, all wearing a mask.
I talk to members who used to take classes but don’t anymore because they don’t want to wear a mask while taking class. They do not believe me when I tell them that it is okay and not as bad as they think. I hear from so many members who miss coming to the clubs because they do not want to wear a mask when exercising and I tell them to come back and try it. It’s okay. They are leery when I tell them this, so I wanted to give them data to prove wearing a mask while exercising is okay!
This week, I wore my breathe cup with my mask, wore my MyZone belt and a pulse oximeter on my finger to measure my oxygen levels while teaching RPM wearing a mask. I tracked each track and marked it on my MyZone. Here is what I found:
According to the Mayo Clinic, normal pulse oximeter readings usually range from 95 to 100 percent.
Teaching RPM and SPRINT: my oxygen saturation level stayed between 95-99%
Running on the treadmill: I stayed between 97-99% for 3 miles
Outside in the cold: I hovered around 95-97%
Eight out of nine members in my class also wore the “Turtle Mask” and are loving being back in the clubs taking classes, even when wearing a mask.
Here are some tips I would give when wearing a Turtle Mask while exercising:
- A mask with adjustable ear straps seems to hold the turtle mask in place better
- If you are using a gaiter face covering with the Turtle mask make sure the gaiter is even with your ears
I know that wearing a mask while exercising is different, but it's necessary to keep everyone safe and our clubs open. I have become used to wearing a mask and I encourage others to stop not doing things they love, like working out and taking classes because they are worried about wearing a mask. If I can do it, anyone can.