With mask and gloves: How to return to the gym

When the gyms reopen, athletes will not be able to avoid masks and gloves. With the usual mouth and nose protection, there are major problems under physical stress. That’s what Dr. dr Michael Despeghel (60) out in a test which he shows under “medizinmaenner.de”. In an interview with spot on news, the sports researcher explains what alternatives there might be and why you should return to the gym quickly.

Books by Michael Despeghel can be found here

They tested the effect of working out in the gym with nose and mouth protection. What did you find out?

Michael Despeghel: Inhalation and exhalation – through which oxygen is taken in and brought to the cells and CO2 is released – is prevented and blocked by polyester, cotton, but also by plastic and foam. At rest, breathe in and out about eight to twelve times and inhale a pint of air. During physical activity, this rises very quickly to 50 to 70 times, after which up to two and a half liters of air are transported back and forth. We have found that blood oxygen saturation is significantly reduced with a mask.

What did your tests look like with a mask?

Despeghel: At rest, oxygen saturation should be 99 percent. If you exert yourself physically with a mask, we have found that during cotton and cotton-polyester, the oxygen saturation in the blood decreases by about three to five percent. Among the foams used in the FFP2 protection masks, for example, it is more than five percent. Then it becomes really dangerous. During stress, the cells urgently need to get enough oxygen. You can not expect the decrease in oxygen saturation under the usual masks during physical exercise, it does not work. This is harmful and also unpleasant.

So there should be other masks for training in the studio?

Despeghel: Yes, in a gym – even with two meters distance, barriers between machines, sneezing protectors, etc. – the aerosol exposure is much higher. The mask requirement makes the most sense here. We tried to find out if there are fabrics that are better suited – and we found what we were looking for: The fabric used for cycling jerseys or swimming trunks has a high permeability, which we will now test. If the oxygen saturation is better here, you can work with it.

Workout in the gym without a mask is impossible?

Despeghel: Yes, that will probably be the essential requirement. Gloves and mask must be.

What should you consider when choosing gloves?

Despeghel: Of course it would be nice if it was not rubber latex goods but merino or something very permeable with stop protection on the underside of the hand. The disposable latex gloves cause a lot of friction. If you hold a weight in your hand, it burns. A barbell, for example, moves normally in your hand, which is prevented by latex gloves and training quickly becomes uncomfortable. So they are not the best solution.

What about showers, changing rooms and saunas when the studios reopen?

Despeghel: These areas can not be used. Toilet facilities will probably only be allowed to enter individually. This is of course a big obstacle, it will not be as usual in the studies for the time being.

Why should you still decide to resume training in the gyms when they are allowed to open?

Despeghel: I was generally against the complete closure of the gyms. Because we also have completely different health problems. The next pandemic is definitely type 2 diabetes and cancer. One way to prevent this is through exercise. The immune system is the guardian of health, which is also confirmed by virologists. Good physical performance also means being better armed against the virus. If you protect yourself with a mask and adhere to distance and hygiene rules, it certainly makes sense to resume training.

What are the effects of a long training break?

Despeghel: The body shows no mercy. If 14 days is missing the load that I usually have regularly, then it is almost as if I had not trained for half a year. We lose 38 percent of cardiovascular capacity and 40 percent of maximal strength in a week without doing anything.

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