The owner of IN30 Fit in Tequesta, Joe Carabase, also owns a gym in Connecticut called m.e.l.t. Fitness (www.meltworkout.com). This is a clip Joe did with WFSB Channel 3 in response to Connecticut’s guideline for gyms to require members to wear masks while exercising if within 12 feet of each other.
First and foremost, put exercising with a mask aside, most of us already breathe wrong.
We tend to use the wrong muscles to breath and we tend to breathe in a shallow way. The scalene neck muscles should be the secondary breathing muscles and our diaphragm should be used primarily for breathing. However, due to a number of factors from our technology usage, stress, poor movement and postural patterns, we tend to overuse our scalene muscles.
Plus, most of us (even the most advanced fitness enthusiast) breath in reverse. Reverse breathing is when you inhale on the breath in and exhale on the breath out. This in of itself is a major issue as its partly years of bad habit from never getting taught proper breathing and it requires time n focus to re learn correct breathing patterns of which go against our natural tendency.
No one wants to push their belly out! This can be even harder for the person who is already self conscious about their midsection.
While we should and we could all breathe better during exercise, but right now it’s better for us to exercise for the physical and mental benefit. After three months of quarantine, people want to & deserve to get out of their house and escape the chaos for a short time. Masks are psychological triggers for all stress COVID related.
When Happens When You Wear A Mask During Exercise
Wearing a mask when you’re training is like inducing someone with asthma. When you wear a mask and exercise, you’re taking in a lot of CO2 and your body cannot handle levels that high.
As a result, you’ll gasp for air and since air is restricted, it’s likely you will fatigue quicker, get light headed and potentially hyperventilate. Putting on a mask when exercising makes the task of breathing 10x harder because of the restricted air flow. This is especially challenging as we move into the hotter summer months.
The Collateral Damage Of Wearing A Mask When Exercising
When you restrict airflow, the body reacts in a fight or flight state where breathing becomes shallow and we use the upper chest and neck area as primary muscles for breathing. As a result, there are several issues:
Poor breathing causes stress in the body through compensation & overuse, yet stress causes poor breathing due to the fight or flight response. It’s a double whammy of trouble which is why we do not want to make breathing harder nor stop people from releasing stress via exercise.
Right now as a society stress levels are through the roof. Exercising in a place where you feel at home and free from the chaos of the world, above all the physical benefits should be a healthy outlet to reduce stress…NOT something else to increase stress through restrictive breathing.
When our breathing becomes restrictive and we tap into our fight or flight mode, the body sends oxygen to the muscles in preparation for action. Even while exercising, it’s unlikely all the oxygen will be used which creates an imbalance with CO2 in the body and gives off symptoms of anxiety.
As a result of our typical fight or flight response, our cortisol levels increase which decreases our immune system, something we need now more than ever.
Postural Issues From Wearing A Mask When You Exercise
Over the past 15 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with thousands upon thousands of people of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. A high percentage of clients in most gyms like mine already carry tension in their neck and chest.
A tight neck can create (or worsen) neck pain as well as lend itself to shoulder issues. Tight pecs can create (or worsen) shoulder and low back problems.
Another issue is core stability. To breath correctly, you need a strong connection to your midline as well as strong transverse abdominals. Since we often sit more than we stand and especially since we have been cooped up in the house for the past three months, a weak core is a major concern for most people which adds another layer of complexity to proper breathing.
When you overuse your neck muscles for breathing, you also tend to also overuse our face and jaw through contractions from shallow breathing which can cause headaches.
One last major posture concern I’d like to share is that of numbness and tingling in arms & hands. When the neck and chest tighten, it restricts the blood and nerve pathways down your arm which can result in numbness and tingling.
Are you looking for a SAFE place to workout?
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We are located at 304 Tequesta Drive, in Tequesta FL just minutes from Jupiter, FL.