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Why can’t I breathe when I exercise wearing a mask?

When outside, I wear a mask (Covid-19). I can breathe just fine until I start exercising. By the time I finish my 30 minute walk, I feel like I am getting no air. Once I'm in my car, I rip the mask off and I feel a rush of air. I purchased looser cotton masks thinking this would help. It does in normal use. I am not wheezing, just feel like I am fighting to suck in air. Please help.

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  1. Hi Debbiekayj55, and thanks for your question.

    For some folks a mask, of any kind, is enough of an impediment to compromise their particular breathing pattern. It sounds like you do fine with the mask UNTIL you start exercising. Naturally, when one exercises, they must increase their rate and depth of breathing for proper respiration (to increase oxygenation and eliminate carbon dioxide). It may be that is the threshold for which the resistance of the mask is high enough for your particular condition. What do you think?
    Leon (site moderator asthma.net)

    1. That makes perfect sense. I opted for a cotton layered that is made from linen. The weave of the fabric seems to help. I am overly concerned with exposure so wearing a mask is a necessity. Thank you so much for you answer. I should have put two and two together. As it is I have issues at higher altitudes.

      Thank you. Debbie

      1. Hi again, Debbiekayj55, and thanks for your response here. Glad to hear this explanation made practical sense for you!
        During these challenging times, I agree with your viewpoint to make certain you wear some kind of mask that works properly for you. Keep up the good work! We will all get through this together.
        Wishing you well,
        Leon (site moderator asthma.net)

    2. Hi Debbiekayj55! I wanted to follow up and see how you are doing with this particular issue. Have you been able to exercise in the past month? Have you found a mask that works better for you? Hope to hear from you soon. 😀 -Ashlen, Asthma.net community moderator

      1. Hi ; not been able to do much exercise; been doing it when I been well enough.

    3. Shortly after this I was in the hospital with pneumonia. But thank goodness it wasn’t Covid !! I was told I have to avoid it at all costs. So masks it it. I also have wipes and hand sanitizer.

      I was able to purchase cotton masks for a great price. Now I have 50. I wear them and change frequently. I wash them often. They are T-shirt material. But I can wear 2

      I admit I do not feel safe. Someone in my office got it from her room mate and was a symptomatic. Plus people went to work sick!!! Scary. So I don’t go many places. I work from home.

      Changing often helps a lot. I do not do do strenuous exercise and well, it is what it is. This is the new norm for me.

      1. Hi Debbiekayj55 and thanks for providing us with an update. So sorry to hear you were hospitalized. You must have been so relieved to know it was pneumonia and not COVID-19!

        It sounds like you are taking all the necessary precautions to remain safe and protect yourself (as best as you can), from the Coronavirus. We appreciate you sharing what is working so well for you.

        Keep up the good work!
        Leon (site moderator asthma.net)

      2. So glad you're OK, Debbie! I'm sure it's not easy spending so much time at home, but at least you're safe. It's great your job can continue remotely. Keep taking good care of yourself! -Melissa, asthma.net team

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