Is it safe to work out in a mask? Some Vancouver spin studios stay closed until mask mandate ends
VANCOUVER -- As of Tuesday, high-intensity group fitness classes can resume indoors in B.C., but some businesses are not rushing back just yet.
Natasha Lowe is the owner of Cadence Cycle and Movement Society. For the past few weeks, spin classes at her studio have been taking place outside on the driveway, under a tent.
Even though spin classes are now allowed indoors, Lowe says she won’t be bringing them inside while the mask mandate is in place.
“We just don’t feel that it’s safe to bring our clients or our team inside to do high intensity with masks on,” Lowe said.
Instructor Jenny Chessa also isn’t keen on the idea of wearing a mask while trying to speak over the music.
“I’m still projecting and leading a group right so it’s not ideal with a mask on,” Chessa said.
Another studio, Spin Society, is also holding off on bringing indoor classes back until July 2. Owner Dominik Desbois told CTV News Vancouver his clients were also concerned about wearing masks during high-intensity classes.
As part of B.C.’s reopening, masks are mandatory inside public spaces in Step 2. In Step 3, as early as July 1, masks become “recommended,” though it’s unclear if that will apply to group fitness.
Is it safe to do high intensity training in a mask?
Dr. Scott Lear is a professor of health sciences at Simon Fraser University and has been researching the effects of mask wearing during exercise. He said according to lab studies, there are “no health and safety concerns,” even at peak exertion.
“The muscles that help you breathe are going to be working a bit harder,” Dr. Lear said. “But these are very minimal and for most people they’re not really going to notice the difference.”
Dr. Lear added some people may not be able to intake as much oxygen as they can without a mask, but adds “this is micro amounts, so one or two or three percentage points. Elite athletes may notice it but most of us won’t notice it.”
He said the extra layer across the face may also make you feel warmer while exercising.
Dr. Lear suggested people wanting to return to indoor fitness for the first time with a mask should go easy, or continue exercising outdoors until the mask mandate is lifted.