Updated: Feb 4, 2021
This is an updated link to the blog post below. With our new enemy being an even more contagious version of Covid, double masking is now a priority. This latest article from NPR has tips and tricks to upgrade your regular cloth masks into a more protective barrier.
At MOVE Studios in Denver, CO, we require masks in addition to other Covid-19 protocols for in-person visits (see protocols HERE). But it's the Masks I want to take a moment to focus on. None of us are experts on mask wearing, and it's not something we all learned in school like calculus that we just hate but have to brush up on to tutor our kids. We didn't have this detailed information before and we didn't care! But now we need to care, focus, and educate ourselves to do our best in this new pandemic reality. First, we need to understanding why the masks are effective. That includes HOW to WEAR a mask. Secondly, I know many people do not want to "work out" in a mask, and I don't know anyone for whom it would be a first choice. But the situation won't change any time soon, so let's consider how to make it more workable.
WHY MASKS ARE EFFECTIVE
If you still think wearing a mask is somehow inconsequential, perhaps you have not heard the latest information. Here are some experts explaining the value of wearing masks:
THREE REASONS WHY I THINK WEARING A MASK IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT
ONE: Wearing a basic mask protects OTHERS. If we all do it, we protect EACH OTHER. At MOVE Studios, we want to protect you as much as we hope you want to protect us. There are other Pilates studios in Denver, like many restaurants, where the staff is required to wear masks but the patrons are not. What kind of message does that send? That the staff does not deserve the same respect and protection as the patrons? At MOVE, we feel EVERYONE deserves that respect and protection. Wearing a mask is our super power.
TWO: Many athletes, especially runners and cyclists, have worn masks for years while exercising to keep pollution and particulates out of their lungs so EXERCISING IN A MASK IS NOT NEW, AND NOT UNPRECEDENTED.
THREE: If you have not yet realized, the current requirement for masks is not going away any time soon - as in, maybe not for more than a year. So consider finding a mask/masks that WORK for YOU, rather than just refusing to wear one. The right fit and style can make all the difference.
HOW TO MAKE MASK WEARING ACTUALLY BE EFFECTIVE
If you are wearing masks with ear loops, and the mask is not tight to your face, you are likely touching your face repeatedly to keep the mask up. This defeats half the purpose of wearing the mask. Contaminants in the air/from someone else's breath are on the outside of the mask. When you touch it, your hands become contaminated. Then, if you touch your face, you can be infected. The idea is to wear a mask that DOES NOT MOVE AROUND. If yours is moving, use a paper clip, a hair tie, a piece of elastic - anything that works - to secure the ear loops around the back of your head. Notice all of the high-end masks go AROUND the head for this exact reason.
In line with this, DON'T TOUCH YOUR MASK UPON REMOVAL. Take it off with the ear loops, fold it into itself, and put it in a bag (preferably paper) to dry. If it's fabric, throw it in the laundry at your earliest convenience. If you need to use it again before you can launder it, pick it up again WITH THE EAR LOOPS to place it back on your face. You can also place it on your dashboard in the sun and let the UV light do its thing to disinfect it. Full Colorado sun is bad for your skin, but it's also bad for little Covid molecules too which is good for the mask!
Then there's the REALLY OBVIOUS STUFF:
Don't wear the mask UNDER YOUR NOSE: If the nose isn't covered it allows air from your nose to escapet, which negates the purpose of wearing the mask.
Don't wear the mask UNDER YOUR CHIN. You're not catching ANYTHING so why bother? Sure, you can put it there if you're alone and you want a break. But if you put it back up by touching it with your fingers (see above) you just contaminated yourself. Be sure to use the ear loops or elastics.
Don't pull the mask AWAY from your mouth to TALK: Talking is when we're putting out a lot of air and can be infecting others, so pulling the mask away to talk negates it's purpose.
Is anyone going to be perfect about their mask-wearing protocols in day-to-day Corona virus life? NO. But the more you know, the better you can police your own hygiene, and the more effectively you can be as part of stopping the virus, not perpetuating it. Keeping yourself, your family and your community safe is not rocket science. It really just takes these 3 little things:
Educate yourself on mask-wearing protocols,
Find a mask you LIKE, that FITS YOUR FACE, and
DO YOUR BEST.
That's all we can ask each of each other at this very stressful time. I hope the information above was helpful, and we hope you will see us at the studio, with your mask, some day soon.