The pandemic is in full force, as well as the many rules we have to follow.
When it comes to face masks, we have all gotten used to wearing them just about everywhere we go. However, does cycling with a face mask make sense?
To some people, it is a bit of a grey area when considering whether to wear a mask or not while cycling, especially outside.
Wearing a mask can be very uncomfortable during moderate exercise since many people feel as if they can’t breathe.
Furthermore, most cyclists work out outside, which is considered much safer than indoors regarding the transition of the virus. So why wear a mask?
If you have been pondering this question, you are not alone. This article will cover whether wearing a bicycle face mask makes sense.
By the end of this article, you will have a more clear understanding of how to bike safely amidst the pandemic.
Will Cycling Help With Your Immune System?
There have been a few studies that have suggested that cycling can help with your immune system.
Especially during today’s pandemic, building your immune system has never been more important. Strong immune systems will help fight off infections such as COVID-19 and keep us in good health.
Luckily, you can do this by riding your bike every day.
Cycling Can Boost T-Cells
A recent study, published in Aging Cell, researched how cycling affects T-cells in the blood.
T-cells are some of the most important white blood cells regarding your adaptive immune system and overall health.
The cells activate several other kinds of cells, including B cells, that help produce antibodies and kill dangerous infections.
The study revealed that cyclists aged 55-79 had a similar T-cell count as adults aged 20-36.
Typically, older adults will have a much lower T-cell count than younger adults. However, this study suggests that cycling can reverse a common aging effect (the lowering of T-cells).
There have not been enough studies yet to support the implications of cycling fully.
Even so, there is a good chance that picking up your bike every day will increase the level of T-cells in your blood, therefore greatly increasing your immune system.
Cycling Will Improve Your Overall Health
You can’t have a good immune system if you are not healthy.
Cycling has so many benefits such as:
- Increased cardiovascular health
- Lower stress levels
- Increased bone strength
- Lower depression and anxiety
- Increased mental health
- Decrease in body fat
Even though there is still research that needs to be done regarding cycling and the immune system, there is conclusive evidence that cycling promotes lung, cardiovascular, and muscle health.
These systems are vital to our overall health. When these systems are healthy, then we will be able to fight off infections more easily.
If anything, cycling helps with your immune system indirectly.
Cycling Just 30 Minutes a Day Can Improve Your Immune System
The U.S. Department of Health recommends at least 2 ½ hours of physical activity every week. This means that if you bike just 30 minutes a day, it will positively affect your health and keep you in shape.
Remember – to experience all of the benefits of biking, such as an improved immune system, you should follow the Department of Health’s guidelines.
Is a COVID Face Mask Needed While Cycling?
One of the main questions that cyclists in the pandemic ask is if they need to wear a bicycle face mask.
The general rule of thumb is to wear a face mask whenever you cannot properly social distance. Even then, face masks are legally required in many countries, depending on where you live.
However, exercising with a face mask can prove troublesome, which is why so many people are asking this question.
Masks can make it more difficult to breathe while you are exercising and can lower your performance. Furthermore, the mask creates a sort of sauna around your nose and mouth.
The increased temperature may make riding very uncomfortable and will normally result in a runny rose.
Even so, certain measures will need to be taken depending on your situation.
However, there is one thing that is important to note about wearing bicycle face masks outside.
Experts believe that there is a much lower chance of getting COVID-19 outside unless in a large, packed crowd.
It will really be up to your discretion whether to wear one or not. Sometimes you may want to wear one just to be courteous to others or if you are in an environment that poses more danger.
Wear a Bicycle Face Mask While Cycling in Busy Areas
The easy answer is yes, you should wear a bicycle face mask while cycling.
COVID-19 is highly contagious, and wearing a mask will prevent the spread of the disease. Even if you are outside, the risk is still there.
However, it may depend on the situation.
For instance, if you want to take your bike out on an early morning ride on the weekend in a large and expansive park, you probably won’t need a mask.
On the other hand, if you ride a bike daily for commute purposes, you will most likely need a mask. Really, it all depends on how many people are around you while cycling.
Even if you are out on a leisurely ride, lots of bike trails may be packed with people.
If you think it will be impossible to stay six feet away from other people, you should wear a bicycle face mask. If you are confident you can practice proper social distancing, you will be fine without a mask.
However, it is always good to keep one in your pocket, just in case.
Wear a Double Mask if You Can
If you are going to be in a very busy area, you may want to consider double masking it.
When you exercise, you will be breathing harder than usual. On a clear trail with nobody around, this won’t be a problem.
However, on busier days, you could be posing a greater risk to others if you don’t wear a mask while exercising, even while outside.
Wearing a double mask can greatly help prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially when you are exercising. It will add a second filter to decrease the number of particles escaping if any.
If you can, wear a disposable mask underneath with a cloth mask over top. You will still be able to breathe as you would with a single mask.
Consider Riding Inside
If you have the equipment, another thing you can consider is to work out indoors. Exercising around other people will always pose a greater risk to yourself and others.
Since wearing a face mask can decrease the quality of your workout, work out in your own home to avoid having to wear a mask.
Reduce the Intensity of Your Cycling Work Out
If you live in the city, you will most likely have to wear a mask unless you go out in the early mornings.
As we mentioned before, cycling with a mask can be uncomfortable. Consider lowering the intensity of your cycling workout to have a better experience.
When you lower the intensity, you will be breathing less, making it easier to breathe in the mask. Furthermore, if you are not breathing as intensely, you will be posing less of a risk to others.
Is It Safe To Cycle With a Face Mask?
One of the main questions that cyclists ask is whether it is safe or not to cycle with a face mask.
Depending on how thick the mask is, it may feel harder to breathe when exercising.
However, that does not mean you are not getting enough oxygen intake while wearing one.
A popular myth (that research has debunked) claims that wearing a face mask lowers your oxygen levels and increases carbon dioxide intake.
You may be happy to hear that this could not be further from the truth. Wearing a face mask will not lower your oxygen levels or cause carbon dioxide poisoning.
Studies have shown that people’s blood oxygen levels stay at a healthy level while wearing masks; there are no risks of hypoxia.
Furthermore, carbon dioxide levels do not rise when you wear a mask, so there is no risk of carbon dioxide poisoning.
It is safe to cycle with a bicycle face mask. While it may be uncomfortable, face masks pose no risk to your health.
Cycling is a great way to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. It can help increase cardiovascular and lung health, and can even help with immunity.
When it comes to bicycle face masks, you should always wear one if you cannot stay six feet apart from other people.
However, if you live in the country or go on the trails when many people are not out, it will be fine to keep your face mask in your pocket.
You could also consider lowering the intensity of your workout or bike indoors with equipment to lower the risk of transition.
Last Updated on May 29, 2023 by Danijel Cakalic