International Journal of Exercise Science 15(2): 1105-1116, 2022. The current study examined the impact of wearing a face mask (FM) at rest and while exercising on cardiorespiratory variables and aerobic performance between males and females. Nine males (21.4 ± 0.5 yr) and 9 females (21.8 ± 3.6 yr) performed a pulmonary function test and a graded maximal exercise test (GXT) on a treadmill with an FM and without an FM in random order. During the GXT, cardiorespiratory variables were measured at different exercise intensities (rest, 40%, 55%, 70%, 80%, 100% of VO2max) and during recovery. Regardless of sex, both males and females significantly (p = .01) reduced their resting pulmonary functions, including forced vital capacity (18.7% and 19.6%, respectively), forced expiratory volume in one second (43.9% and 45.7%, respectively), and peak expiratory flow (85.2% and 87.5%, respectively) with an FM. During the GXT, both VO2 and ventilation (VE) in males were significantly (p < .01) lower with an FM only at 100% of VO2max, while females showed a significantly (p < .01) lower VO2, VE, and tidal volume (Vt) with an FM throughout the entire GXT. The partial pressure of exhaled CO2 was significantly (p = .02) higher at 100% of VO2max with an FM only in males. Although wearing an FM reduced resting pulmonary functions and the maximal aerobic performance for both males and females, there was a clear sex-specific response during the GXT, indicating that females were less capable to adapt to the pulmonary obstruction induced by wearing an FM.
Moris, Jose M. and Koh, Yunsuk
"Aerobic Performance Detriments while Wearing a Face Mask Diverge Among Males and Females,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 15
2, Pages 1105 - 1116.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol15/iss2/14