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The Centers For Disease Control currently recommends that everyone wear a cloth face mask in public spaces to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As gyms reopen and experts suggest wearing facial coverings even while running or biking outside in more densely populated areas, it's important to find a mask that will help you feel comfortable while keeping yourself and others safe.
There are a few factors to consider when deciding on a face mask for working out, because it needs to be equally breathable and protective. The first thing to think about is the fabric the mask is made out of. Though some of the really cute ones are made from knit fabric, your best bet may be one made of 100-percent cotton. It'll be breathable for you but still protect you and those around you, particularly if you're diligent about practicing social distancing. And because many masks are made from two layers of fabric, you don't want anything too thick — so, keep the number of layers in mind.
The second thing to consider is how the mask fits your face. You've probably seen a few different styles of masks, the most common ones being pleated — which look like surgical masks — and muzzle-shaped. For working out, a muzzle-shaped mask is probably a better fit, because you won't run the risk of your mask moving and shifting a pleat under your nose, which can make it more difficult to breathe. (I speak from experience on this.)
The last aspect to think about is the ear pieces. You don't want to work out with a mask that has ties. Those come loose way too easily. You need elastic ear pieces and ones that aren't too tight or too loose. This may take some adjusting on your part to get the right fit, but you'll want your mask to rest securely against your skin, yet not so tight that you're uncomfortable. If you're too worried about your mask, you won't be focused on your workout, so you have to get your mask right from the get-go.
We've picked out several masks that fit the bill, but you may need to try a few styles or fabrics before you find the one that works best for you. (You might find that a simple neck gaiter made from a thinner, synthetic fabric is more comfortable, for example.) Remember, too, to keep an eye on your breathing during workouts, and give your body a break if it needs it. If you're concerned, talk to your doctor about whether it's safe for you to work out this way.
POPSUGAR aims to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information about the coronavirus, but details and recommendations about this pandemic may have changed since publication. For the latest information on COVID-19, please check out resources from the WHO, CDC, and local public health departments.