If you are a fitness freak and never fail to do your exercises, you should know about the exercise training masks. You must wear the exercise training mask while exercises. But what are the benefits of these training masks? To explore the benefits of the exercise training mask and how to use it, you must read the article further.
What Are Exercise Training Masks?
Exercise training masks are also known as Altitude masks or Elevation masks. The exercise training masks look different from the surgical mask or even the N95 masks. These are worn by professional athletes. The exercise training masks cover your nose and mouth, cut down on the amount of oxygen that you take in while you are exercising. Using the exercise training mask while training forces your lungs and heart to work harder. When these masks are removed for a game or race, your body uses oxygen quite efficiently. People who use these masks claim that they can improve their speed, strength, and endurance by using the mask. It can be said that ideally, one can increase their physical performance and achieve challenging goals by using an exercise training mask.
Benefits Of The Exercise Training Mask:
An exercise training mask is specially designed to help you achieve the same benefits that you might achieve if you were exercising at high altitudes. These masks cover your mouth just like other masks. But, this mask also features adjustable valves or channels on the front to restrict the amount of oxygen that one receives, and also a valve where exhaled air exists from the training mask.
When you wear the exercise training mask, your body starts to adapt to the reduced intake of oxygen, thus making your lungs and heart work harder. After using these masks for some time, you might feel as if you can jump higher, run faster, or bike for a longer duration. You will perform better with these masks. Below are some of the benefits of the exercise training mask.
Builds Lung Function:
An exercise training mask might help in improving your lung function. However, research suggests that this might not be the case. A study of 2016 had compared one small group of “moderately trained” adults who made use of the exercise training masks with a control group that did not use the mask.(2) The study found no difference in lung function between the two groups.
Builds Aerobic Capacity:
It is believed that an exercise training mask builds aerobic capacity. VO2 max is essentially shorthand for one maximal intake of oxygen. It refers to the uppermost limit for the amount of oxygen that your body is able to use while exercising. You might also hear it is referred to as peak oxygen intake. Exercise training masks are supposed to help you achieve one’s VO2 max. However, scientific research shows mixed results.
As per a 2016 study, it is found that training masks helped the users increase their VO2 max.(3) However, another study conducted in the year 2017 showed no real benefit of the exercise training masks.(4)
Hypoxemia is the state of having a low level (below-normal levels) of oxygen in the blood. This state can be achieved by using exercise training masks because the effects of these masks are similar to what one might experience at high altitudes. But, do these training masks actually help you achieve the same benefits that you would receive from training at high altitude?
The study of 2016 shows that these exercise training masks are not really effective altitude training devices.(5) Rather, they are more effective as the devices of respiratory muscle training. The study of 2017 notes that the limited duration of time that a training mask is generally worn, might limit its potential benefits.(5)
How To Use Exercise Training Mask?
If you are using the exercise training mask while exercising, you should know how to use it. So, below are some of the steps that you must follow while using these masks.
Check If the Mask Fits You or Not:
You should be sure enough that the exercise training mask that you are wearing fits you correctly. It should fit snuggly over your mouth and nose.
Begin Slow and Ramp Up Gradually:
Do not put on the exercise training mask and run 5 miles. Wear it around your house for a while, and perform some activities like your household chores. At first, you might feel a bit lightheaded as the mask restricts your breathing. So, make sure you are quite careful. Also, consider scaling up the regular workouts before adding an exercise training mask.
Adjust the Valves:
You should adjust the valves as required. Some exercise training masks might let you tinker with the altitude settings. So, choose a low level until you see how you react to the settings, and gradually work your way up.
Stop Using The Mask If You Experience Any Side Effect:
Be very much careful and pay attention to how you are feeling while using the masks. If you are feeling faint or lightheaded, remove the mask immediately. One must note that an exercise training mask might not be the right option for everyone. Depending on your fitness goals and health, a training mask may or may not be the best option for you. So, if you suffer from any health condition, then you should check with your doctor and fitness trainer before using the mask.
Are Exercise Training Masks Safe To Use?
Exercise training masks might or might not be effective, however, it is also essential to consider their safety factor. Elite athletes might find some benefits from the exercise training masks, but should amateur athletes try them too?
According to a study of 20 male weightlifters conducted in the year 2018, it was found that the participants experienced some side effects like dizziness, lightheadedness, discomfort, fatigue and anxiety. The participants or the weightlifters in the study used the exercise training masks during their training, and researchers have found that the participants who wore these masks lost some degree of focus and alertness towards their tasks because of reduced oxygen intake.
You should be made aware that even without any underlying health condition, you might faint or hyperventilate while using an exercise training mask. Make sure that if you suffer from any health issues, like cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure, consult with your doctor before using these masks.
So, are you interested in trying these exercise training masks? The benefits of these masks are quite attractive, but you should also maintain safety concerns while using the masks with any sort of health condition.
If you are concerned about if your health is fair enough to use these masks, you should check with your doctor first.