Doing Exercise during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Wearing or Not Wearing a Face Mask?

Nawanto Prastowo, A.* & Ignatio Rika Haryono

Department of Physiology, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia, Indonesia

Dr. Nawanto Prastowo, A., Department of Physiology, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia, Indonesia.

Keywords: Face Mask; Exercise; COVID-19 Pandemic


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic - caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) - is an extraordinary global health emergency. The pandemic has also influenced every aspect of human life and caused panic in the community. On the 11th of March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic (World Health Organization, 2020d) [1]. Since then, many governments have enforced strict policies to prevent and slow the ongoing spread of the COVID-19 disease. Government policies have included lockdowns of cities, prohibited certain social activities and gatherings, and travel bans. People were encouraged to physically distance themselves, practice good hand hygiene, wear a face mask in public areas, and remain at home where possible. Encouraging people to stay at home could remarkably reduce the possibility of getting infected by COVID-19. Nevertheless, otherwise, it may also diminish physical activity and increase sedentary behavior. In contrast, exercise has been known to increase immunity, which would be helpful if infected with COVID-19 [2,3]. For those with training facilities at home, reaching the WHO recommendations of 150 min of moderate-intensity or 75 min of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week (World Health Organization, 2010) is still attainable [4]. Performing physical exercise at home is secure and can maintain fitness levels. However, most people in developing countries are used to exercising in a public area, such as a city park or square. However, exercising outdoors increases the risk of being exposed to COVID-19. Therefore, maintaining social distance and the use of masks are mandatory for those who exercise in public places.

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