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Precautions to take while running or cycling wearing masks

Precautions to take while running or cycling wearing masks

Suraj Iyer

Published: 16 Aug 2020 7:11 AM GMT

Unlock 3.0 saw ease of restrictions for many activities including outdoor running, cycling, the opening of gyms and yoga centres. However, the directive is outdoor running and cycling activities must be performed while wearing a mask.

Masks have been a debated subject when it comes to exercise. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) allowed visors to be worn instead of masks when gyms reopened in many states across the country. However, the same has not been announced yet for permitted outdoor activities. Cardiovascular activities such as running and cycling have a primary focus on maintaining a breathing rhythm. Listed below are some pointers that one should take note of while exercising with a mask.

Steady Pace

Maintaining a steady pace is essential. Since masks are designed in a way to filter the air that is being inhaled, they are often thick. This does not allow ease in breathing in and out, an essential component of cardio workouts. It is important to maintain a slow pace to avoid gassing out. Even though one may be capable of higher speeds, masks have limitations which make it ideal to run or cycle slowly.


Due to the heavy filters present in masks, it is necessary to sanitize them as they may carry harmful bacteria. In order to prevent the risk of infection and cleanliness, masks should be sanitized by using appropriate soap, sprays or detergent. This will help get rid of any harmful bacteria from a prior run or cycle ride and allow ease of activity for next time.

Avoiding High Altitudes

Masks prevent normal airflow for the body which makes it ideal to perform slow/steady-state cardio. In this case, one should also avoid running or cycling at places of high altitudes due to comparatively lesser amount of air. Such places usually provide a challenge for unmasked runners and should be avoided for activities whenever possible.


Many runners have been unable to run during the lockdown period and are still avoiding outdoors due to health risks. In this case, it is much better to perform cardio workouts at home. Cardio workouts at home can be done using a jump/skipping rope. Online instructors or YouTube videos are providing a cardio workout as well to many who are stuck at home.

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