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04 May 2022 : Clinical Research  

[In Press] Effects of Wearing Face Masks on Exercise Capacity and Ventilatory Anaerobic Threshold in Healthy Subjects During the COVID-19 Epidemic

Qiang Lin ORCID logo1BCDEF, Yuxing Cai1BC, Changjun Yu2BC, Wei Gu3CD, Yan Tan3CD, Li Wang3CD, Anliang Chen1F, Kai Cheng1F, Ting Meng4F, Xueping Li1AG

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.936069

Med Sci Monit In Press; DOI: 10.12659/MSM.936069  

Available online: 2022-05-04, In Press, Corrected Proof

Publication in the "In-Press" formula aims at speeding up the public availability of the pending manuscript while waiting for the final publication. The assigned DOI number is active and citable. The availability of the article in the Medline, PubMed and PMC databases as well as Web of Science will be obtained after the final publication according to the journal schedule

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Face masks have become an important part of the COVID-19 prevention approach. This study aimed to explore the effect of wearing masks on exercise ability and ventilatory anaerobic threshold (VAT).
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Thirty-four young, healthy volunteers were included in this study, consisting of 18 men and 16 women. The subjects were randomized to perform 2 cardiopulmonary exercise tests (CPET) on a cycle ergometer with gas exchange analysis, one with and another without wearing a face mask (cross-over design). The general data for all subjects and indicators from the 2 exercise tests performed with and without wearing a face mask were collected.
RESULTS
In cardiopulmonary exercise tests, wearing a mask significantly (P<0.05) decreased peak indexes (eg, work rate (WR), oxygen consumption per kg body weight (VO₂/kg), heart rate (HR), ventilation per minute (VE) and carbon dioxide ventilation equivalent (VE/VCO₂)) and anaerobic threshold indexes (eg, WR, HR, VE, breath frequency (BF), dead space ratio (VD/VT), and VE/VCO₂). However, the PETCO₂ at peak was significantly higher. There was a positive linear correlation between WR difference and VO₂ difference at VAT (abbreviated as δ[email protected] and δVO₂@VAT, respectively) (r=0.495, P=0.003). Subgroup analysis of the VAT indexes showed that WR, VO₂/kg, and VE were significantly decreased in the advanced VAT group with mask compared with the stable VAT group with mask (P<0.05). Logistic regression showed that δVE, δBF, and δVE/VCO₂ had independent influences on VAT.
CONCLUSIONS
Wearing masks advances VAT in healthy young subjects during CPET. The advanced VAT was associated with changes in VE, BF, and VE/VCO₂ while wearing masks.

Keywords: Anaerobic Threshold; COVID-19; Exercise Test

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Dinah V. Parums
Science Editor, Medical Science Monitor, International Scientific Information, Inc., Melville, NY, USA

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.937048

Med Sci Monit 2022; 28:e937048

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750