Wearing A Mask Can Affect Your Workout So Chose Wisely

It appears that for large parts of the country – and large parts of the world – face masks and covering are here to stay for at least the foreseeable future. Masks are worn to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus by keeping germs from spreading from person to person. This is especially important when people are exercising – and even more so if you are in a gym or another enclosed space – but it is also important to know just how wearing a mask will affect your exercise routine.

When looking for guidance on masks and exercise it is important to know that much of the research is in its formative stages. We have never been put into this position as a community before, so knowing what to do – such as what type of mask to wear, how often it should be changed, and so on – are still questions without definitive answers at this point.

According to a New York Times article by Janet Brody – among a host of other vital research pieces – there is growing evidence that wearing a mask does affect your breathing to some degree. This shouldn’t really be news to anyone who has worn a mask as it is pretty obvious that it is more difficult to breathe as effectively with a mask on.

This has implications for mask wearing when trying to get in your daily exercise. The British Journal of Sports medicine published a piece this month noting that wearing a mask to exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort”. This means that according to the same piece, exercise must be planned and thought out in advance to make sure that you are personally “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.”

These ideas and concepts will obviously vary from person to person and situation to situation. Someone living in a remote and rural area will likely be able to go on a jog through their region with a mask in their pocket and never have to bring it out because of how few people are around. Someone trying to go to the gym in a densely populated neighborhood, however, will need to be masked up the entire time they are at the facility and their need for exercise vs. mask discomfort would be something that would be a real push/pull factor towards working out at all.

One item to note from early research is that masks appear to alter the heart rate of a person exercising. The president and chief science office of the American Council on Exercise, Cedric X. Bryant, notes that wearing a mask seems to increase the heart rate of the wearer by eight to 10 beats per minute. This is with exercise done at the same level of intensity to doing so without a mask. This rate may even increase as intensity increases and the result could be a lightheaded feeling and a quicker level of fatigue then when a mask is not present.

One way to counter this could be to make sure that you have the right mask to work out in. Any type of paper mask should immediately be discarded as these become wet quickly and will have limited to no effectiveness shortly into your workout program. Cloth masks are better, but try to avoid the thicker versions of these masks with more than two layers of fabric as they will cause you to overheat quickly. Neck gaiters are worse at controlling the spread (but better than nothing) and these will be lighter around the face than cloth.

It is also worth watching the development of new mask technologies. The likes of Nike, Adidas, and Under Armor are all putting funding into mask research to come up with masks for athletes and workouts. Choosing the right mask is important to keep everyone safe, but it doesn’t have to be at the expense of your own health.


Article by Vital Guidance

Cycling Helps Your Body In Many Ways

Cycling has become the new normal for many around the world with the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to wreak havoc on exercise and transport routines. Bike sales in the US were up 50% in March according to market research firm The NPD Group.   Overall bike sales – including stationary bikes – grew 31% in the first quarter according to the same firm year-over- year from 2019. Market experts expect that trend to continue through the second quarter as people look to bikes to replace their scaled down exercise regimes.

It makes sense that bikes have become such a big deal. Even as public transport begins to reopen, consumers have found that they prefer the open spaces and fresh air of a bike ride to work or to a local pub over the same trip in a packed bus or subway car. Biking has become so popular during the crisis that some major cities – including London in the United Kingdom – have shut off entire areas to cars with no plans to reopen them post-pandemic.

Cycling helps the body in many ways. Some of these are obvious and some a little more obscure, but your overall health will be helped by adding some cycling to your routine as lockdowns allow. The most obvious way that cycling helps is because it’s an aerobic exercise that increases your metabolism and burns calories at the same time, which is why cycling is so good for those looking to achieve weight loss goals.

According to a Harvard University study, 30 minutes of mountain biking will burn around 316 calories for someone weighing 155 pounds. This is a number that will be higher if you way more and lower if you weigh less. If mountain biking is a little too extreme – or if there are no trails around to ride – then don’t worry. Outside biking will burn around 298 for a 155 pound person, while stationary biking will burn around 260 calories assuming you are going at what is considered a moderate pace (around 12 miles per hour).

Biking is especially useful for exercise if you are rehabbing from an injury or if you are someone with joint issues. It’s a low-impact recreational activity and one that doesn’t involve high impact to the joints. This is very different to running on the road or the majority of team sports, all of which put far more wear and tear on the body.

Cycling is also an exercise activity where it’s easy to scale up or down depending on your fitness needs and goals. Sometimes it can be hard to push the pace while running, but on a bike you can work in sprints and hills to make your session as challenging as you like. On another day you can just take a leisurely ride to another activity or event. Cycling can help our health in any way you want.

Perhaps the best reason to cycle in this new normal, however, is because biking is a great form of stress relief and a study in Mental Health and Physical Activity showing that people who exercised slept better.  Other factors show that a healthy, stress free way of thinking is boosted by exercise. Cycling helps lower the levels of stress hormones (cortisol) in the body, allowing for a more peaceful night and a more productive life.

Cycling – and outdoor cycling in particular – is amazing at pushing away stress. There is something about the air whipping past your ears as you fall into a pedaling cadence that allows you to focus on nothing other than the sights and smells you are passing through. Getting out into the country and getting on a bike is one of the simple pleasures in life, perfect for socially isolating with your family while having a picnic lunch in the middle of a field or for training on your own for a return to your regular sporting routine when things return to a more normal level.

Article By Vital Guidance

Quit Smoking, Exercise To Boost Your Health

Coronavirus is causing problems around the globe that’s impacting people’s health in a way unlike anything we have ever seen. There are certain sections of society – namely older people – who are more vulnerable to infection, but another way of being more vulnerable than the general population – according to new research – is by being a smoker.

Though more research needs to be done on the subject, early reports show that both traditional smokers and those who vape are more open to the chance of catching the virus than those who don’t. This is thought to be because smokers have elevated levels of ACE-2, a vital enzyme that helps the virus enter their lungs and replicate more freely.

There are plenty of smokers who want to quit. They know their health is at risk by smoking in general, and with Covid-19 being a disease that attacks the lungs it only makes sense that it would be a torrid problem for smokers. Quitting isn’t easy – if it was more people would be able to – but here are three ways to protect your overall health by getting smoking out of your life:

1 – Share a quit date
Getting that information out there will keep you accountable. Tell your friends the day you want to quit by and then build up the resources and the support network you will need to get to that point. Getting some sort of nicotine replacement is going to be important, as is filling your days with things to keep you distracted from the cravings. This is a mental game as much as anything and having friends in the right places at the right time is vital to helping you meet your quitting goal.

2 – Boost your overall health
Quitting smoking and keeping your lifestyle the same is admirable, but potentially kind of pointless. This is a huge change – a change that will open up your world and your health – so use this time to change more about yourself than no longer needing a smoke break. Maybe get back into the exercise game; yoga is an ideal option as it will help you focus on your spiritual health and your breathing techniques.  Running is also another great exercise that you can do alone or with others.  Plus, you can run at any time or place.   Whatever self-care you are interested in you should give it a try.

3 – Know the cravings will pass
This is the hardest part of quitting smoking. The cravings are real and they are intense. They will hit you and they will hit you hard. If you expect the hard cravings and know they will come before long the cravings will pass and the process will get much better. However, don’t fight the cravings, just ride them out and have a strategy for what you are going to do when they get bad. Replacement products are out there and they will be needed for you to kick smoking and vitally improve your health.

Article by Vital Guidance

Vitamins help prepare for the unknown affects of viruses

One of the biggest hurdles that we will all struggle with at one time or another in the face of the COVID-19 situation is the unknown. The truth is that no one – scientists, government officials, the neighbor with the cat that knows everything (nothing) really has no idea about the scope of this worldwide virus. That is why what we need to do is focus on the things we do know and the things that we can do something about.

Eating healthy won’t keep the Coronavirus at bay.  What it will do, however, is have your immune system as ready and healthy as possible to fight off the invasive threat.  This is a story as old as time itself and it is a well-known way to stay healthy through troubling times.  Here are a few nutrients to focus on in the weeks ahead:

Vitamin D
Sun exposure is important as there are immune cells that use vitamin D to destroy viral pathogens that cause infections.  Getting just a few minutes outdoors will help with this sun retention – though more is obviously better as it will also help your mental health to get out and relax.   Also, a number of food brands can be found with added vitamin D to help with this vital nutrient.

Vitamin C/E
These vitamins protect your cells from oxidative stress as they shore up your structures and reduce possible inflammations. Vitamin C is especially important as it will help the body get back to normal more quickly by reacting and causing an immune response that will clean up any junk in the system as quickly as possible. Citrus fruits are the go-to options here.

Vitamin A
Another structure vitamin, Vitamin A forms a barrier in the respiratory tract and gut as your initial line of defense against a virus. This vitamin is also important for making the antibodies that will fight the virus and it can be found in oily fish, cheese, and egg yolks.

B vitamins
All useful, but B6, B9, and B12 are the best of the bunch. They attack a pathogen by causing infected cells to implode and stop their spread around the body. Cereals and leafy greens are good sources of B vitamins, with B12 being found in eggs, meat, and dairy products.

Getting as much healthy food into the system – with vitamins and minerals in the right doses – will give your body a greater chance of fighting off not only COVID-19, but also the seasonal flu and other viral infections. This will put you in the best position to make it through any outbreak on the mild end of the scale.  Stay safe.

Article by Vital Guidance