How to Master Breathing with a Face Covering
Wearing a face covering doesn’t significantly reduce the amount of oxygen you can breathe in, but it does slow the rate of your inhalation. Face coverings may also trap more exhaled carbon dioxide, which for most people doesn’t pose a significant health risk, but can be challenging to get use to and give you a different feel then without the face covering on. It takes time to create better breathing patterns and increase your tolerance for this experience.
Check out these tips on breathing with a face covering that you could practice at home before your next workout.
- Step 1: Sit in a comfortable position with a flat surface.
- Step 2: Relax your shoulders.
- Step 3: Put a hand on your chest and a hand on your stomach.
- Step 4: Breathe in through your nose for about two seconds. You should experience the air moving through your nostrils into your abdomen, making your stomach expand. During this type of breathing, make sure your stomach is moving outward while your chest remains relatively still.
- Step 5: Purse your lips (as if you’re about to drink through a straw), press gently on your stomach, and exhale slowly for about two seconds.
- Step 6: Repeat these steps for several rounds.
Yoga Breathing: This particular technique is used to calm the mind and your nervous system which can help with some of the anxiety that can come with wearing a face covering.
- Step 1: Breathe in through your noes completely filling your lungs while slightly contracting your throat
- Step 2: Pause for 2 seconds with your lungs full
- Step 3: Exhale through your noes while slightly contracting your throat, think of the exhale like you are fogging up a mirror but with your mouth closed
Box Breathing: Inhale for four seconds, pause and hold your breath for four seconds, then exhale for four seconds. Gradually work up to a box breath of 8 seconds/8 seconds/8 seconds.
- Step 1: Sitting upright, slowly exhale through your mouth, letting all the oxygen out of your lungs. Focus on this intention and be conscious of what you’re doing.
- Step 2: Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose to the count of four. In this step, count to four very slowly in your head. Feel the air fill your lungs, one section at a time, until your lungs are completely full and the air moves into your abdomen.
- Step 3: Hold your breath for another slow count of four.
- Step 4: Exhale through your mouth for the same slow count of four, expelling the air from your lungs and abdomen. Be conscious of the feeling of the air leaving your lungs.
Last Tip, Positive Self Talk! Our thoughts play a huge part in life especially when we are trying something new. It’s important to intentionally check in with how you feel and be conscious of the words you are using – “I can” vs. “I can’t” – this positive self talk can help you mentally and physically relax during activity.
Our top picks and options for Face Coverings while working out!
- Disposable Masks – our training, instructor and coaching team hands down agree the disposable masks feel a bit better than cloth masks, they also appreciate that you can dispose of them right after the workout
- 3D Bracket – along with the disposable mask OR a cloth mask, this bracket leaves space between your nose, mouth and the mask which helps the mask to not get sucked into your face as you start to breathe heavier and sweat
- Face Shields
How to get used to wearing a face covering:
- Try wearing your face covering at home for a period of time to get acclimated to the fit, maybe even go for a long walk/jog with your mask on to see how it feels
- While wearing a face covering, focus on any of the breathing tips that were listed above
- Continue to tell yourself that while the face covering may initially feel strange you are in fact getting plenty of oxygen and are exhaling carbon dioxide
Reminders for working out:
- For your first few workouts you may want to take longer breaks and drink more water
- Adjust the intensity of your workout, pulling back sooner than you normally would and maybe not pushing to the full extent as you would without a face covering
As we move forward in this new normal and adjust our etiquette inside our facility please remember that your health, safety and fitness is our top priority. Wearing a face covering during a workout is not the most ideal but there is no question that getting in your regular exercise is crucial to your health. Working out with a face covering on is still hands down better than not working out at all and we are here to cheer you on!