In recent years, the use of facemasks has greatly increased, especially due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many individuals were required to wear a face mask for long durations. The impact of mask wearing on spontaneous physical activity (PA) is unknown. PURPOSE: This study seeks to determine if wearing an N-95 mask for extended duration would have any impact on spontaneous physical activity. METHODS: 12 total participants aged 18-21 yr. were recruited for this experimental cross-over study. Subjects reported to the lab twice, separated by one week, to receive a wrist-worn accelerometer. One condition was control (CON) and subjects did not wear masks. During the second condition, subjects wore an N-95 mask (MASK) for 10-h over the day. Starting condition was randomized for the first subject and the following subjects were assigned alternating starting conditions for a possible ordering effect. Subjects were asked to keep a food and drink log and asked to replicate the results during the second condition. The subjects wore the accelerometer for the entirety of the 10-h with activity counts being taken over 60-s epochs during both conditions. Time spent in sedentary, light, and moderate-to-vigorous PA was calculated according to Freedson 1998 cut-points. Data expressed as means ± SE. RESULTS: 12 college-aged(20.5 + 1.5 yr.) male (n=5) and female (n=7) healthy individuals completed the study. There was no statistically significant difference between conditions in the percent of time spent in sedentary (CON: 33.8 ± 25.2% vs. MASK: 33.7 ± 26.2%, P = .996), light (CON: 49.2 ± 20.7% vs. MASK: 48.9 ± 21.2%, P = .974), and moderate-to-vigorous (CON: 16.9 ± 8.7% vs. MASK: 17.4 ± 9.8%, P = .909), behaviors. CONCLUSION: The data suggest that wearing a mask for an extended period does not affect spontaneous PA.
Lesser, Dalton; Laufenberg, Jake; and Zeigler, Zachary
"N-95 Masks Have No Effect on Spontaneous Physical Activity,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings: Vol. 14:
3, Article 72.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol14/iss3/72