Although I try and limit my social media, I find myself scrolling it most days. Do you? The good, the bad, and the ugly show up and we all work to minimize how much we consume from the various platforms. It can really be a time suck!
Yet, this week a little blue bird told me some really timely and useful info! That tiny blue bird was Twitter. And I thought you'd find this information helpful too.
A recent review article in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society came out about wearing facemasks while exercising. It stuck out to me because one of the co-authors, Dr. Mike Stickland, works in Edmonton (where I live) and he was completing his PhD at the University of Alberta when I was doing my Masters degree. At that time, his exercise science research focused on individuals with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and also some side work with firefighters. Although those two populations might seem disconnected, in fact, the considerations of airway restriction is a common thread they hold.
My delight this week was high as I knew Mike would deliver the timely information we need about the impact of wearing a facemasks while exercising. Knowing that I've been wearing a mask to exercise, I wanted to learn something too.
The article begins by describing the three major concerns about facemask wearing during exercising. They are:
#1 - Increased Work of Breathing - in a nutshell this is the energy needed for the body to inhale and exhale
#2 - Altered Pulmonary Gas Exchange - this includes the reduction of ventilation (inhalation of oxygen and exhalation of carbon dioxide) and re-breathing of exhaled carbon dioxide
#3 - Increased Dyspnea - meaning increased shortness of breath
The authors continue to acknowledge that the filtering protection by different types of facemasks and respirators (low resistance face coverings such as cloth and surgical masks, N95 respirators, industrial respirators such as SCBA and applied external resistors) is variable. They do not provide any guidance on what is the "best" facemask to wear, yet, they simply summarize the literature of what is known about facemasks to date.
Let me share what they found in the healthy population.
Wearing a facemask while exercising "may increase dyspnea but have small and often difficult to detect effects on work of breathing, blood gases, and other physiological parameters during physical activity, even with heavy/maximal exercise."
There is "no evidence to suggest that wearing facemasks during exercise disproportionately hinders younger and older individuals and significant sex-based differences are not expected."
The authors stipulate that special attention be taken for those living with chronic health conditions.
"Depending on the severity of underlying illness, individuals with cardiopulmonary disease are more likely than healthy individuals to experience increased exertional dyspnea with facemasks due to small increase in the resistance and re-inspiration of warmer and slightly enriched carbon dioxide air."
By the sounds of it, expect to have shortness of breath when exercising while wearing a facemask but this is likely not producing any physiologically alterations to be concerned about if you, yourself are healthy. It may be that one needs to adapt to wearing a mask while exercising. I know I sure have had to get use to it. I'm not going to the gym right now for exercise but when I was, I would wear my mask while exercising in public places. In my case, it did feel "easier" over time as I got use to it.
Very interesting! 😷
Now if you are one to read the literature, the article is open access so read away! See the source below.
I hope I've provided a brief but helpful summary of what the current research literature tells us about facemasks and exercise.
The benefit I also got was a refresh! While on Twitter this week, I also decluttered my feed and unfollowed old accounts and things I was no longer interested in. With that, Twitter provided a great feeling of letting go and learning something new. If you are on Twitter you can find me there!
Social media isn't all bad!?
Stay well and happy moving,
Source: Facemasks and the Cardiorespiratory Response to Physical Activity in Health and Disease
This week my attention has been on corrective exercise - using exercise to help improve posture, alignment and pain levels.
The framework I use is looking at each person through the words of the song "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes". It is a fun and easy way to remind us how the body aligns itself while standing.
Yet, I flip the song around and start from the bottom - from the toes.
Why from the toes?
Well let's be honest, how much do we actually think about our toes and I'll include, our feet?
The feet as a whole do SO MUCH WORK day in and out and we (I mean me too!) rarely give them a second thought.
Amazing structure they are! With 26 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles, 10 tendons and a whopping 107 ligaments!!! With all these pieces, each foot transmits weight from our body to the ground, provides a platform for balance, and propels our body forward, back and sideways as we move.
Quite literally the foundation of our body, the feet play a key role in our daily movement and physical activity.
And what do we do for our feet?
I can tell you, I don't give them much second thought. How about you?
If you need some ideas of what to do, watch this short video for some quick and easy movements for your feet.
All this work this week is leading in to a workshop I am facilitating later today - Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes: How Corrective Exercise Can Promote Better Movement and Injury Prevention for the Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association. It is a three hour workshop on what is corrective exercise and how to use it in fitness leadership.
I'll have a large dose of empathy for my audience. Many of them will likely be waiting on the sidelines (and hopefully going online to teach) over the next two weeks in Alberta. Effective now, in person group fitness classes are on hold. I hope I can inspire them to fill their toolbox while waiting to get back to in person classes as soon as possible.
Wish me luck! My new camera and mic are set-up with Zoom and let's keep our fingers crossed (and toes too!) that the technology gods are on my side!
Do you like this sort of content? If so, let me know. I get really excited about talking all about anatomy and biomechanics!
Stay well and happy moving,
Would you amp up your physical activity if you knew it was helping someone else?
I typically say to people that although I would love to move my body to give you benefit, exercise is something you have to do for yourself.
The ultimate in self-care.
Yet, I just learned about an amazing community of runners who look beyond themselves and help others while they run.
You may ask, how do they do that?
Well, let me tell you about GoodGym. It is a London-based organization that combines running and community service projects. Groups of runners come together and set off on their runs to a destination. At the destination the runners are put to task on something that would help or improve the community.
How cool is that?!
Some projects include visiting isolated older adults in their homes (quick mid-run break to chat to someone who's main form of contact is their TV), fixing up disheveled gardens and planting new flowers, and stopping in on a construction site to sand down some doors before they need to be painted.
The purpose driven runs provide the runners with a social interaction (physically distance, I'm sure), a sense of service and a major boost of accomplishment not only for themselves but for others.
Their tagline is…
Holy Guacamole! How amazing is this?
Point of order and challenge to you.
How can you serve someone else in your community while you move your body?
Here are three other suggestions to consider! Some super easy to implement and others taking a bit more planning and effort. What are you up for?
1. Charity Miles
- App on your phone that tracks your walk/run and assigns a dollar amount to your total distance You choose who to donate your mileage dollars to, usually a recognizable charity such as The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.
2. Capital City Clean Up (*Updated: We've got at least a foot of snow yesterday so this might need to wait until Spring)
- In my community, Edmonton, you can go out and volunteer to clean up garbage in your neighbourhood. Don't live in Edmonton, check with your city about how you can contribute to a cleaner city.
3. Local Food Bank
- Inquire about sorting donations at your local food bank. It can be a very physical workout with all the canned goods! Trust me, I've done it!
Got some other ideas? I'd love to learn what you came up with and I'll share them in a future email newsletter! Simply comment below!
We are 'moving' into the giving season. How can you give while you move your body?
Stay well and happy moving,
Missed my most recent newsletter? Don't worry, I've got your back. Find all my exclusive letters here on this private blog. ~Lisa