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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 Apr 22

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.12313-8

Copyright © 2021 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

COVID-19 and physical activity in sedentary individuals: differences in metabolic, cardiovascular, and respiratory responses during aerobic exercise performed with and without a surgical face masks

Gökhan UMUTLU 1 , Nasuh E. ACAR 2, Derya S. SINAR 1, Gizem AKARSU 2, Erkan GÜVEN 2, İrfan YILDIRIM 2

1 Institute of Education Sciences, Mersin University, Mersin, Turkey; 2 Faculty of Sports Sciences, Mersin University, Mersin, Turkey


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BACKGROUND: The Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) impairs metabolic, cardiovascular, and pulmonary functions in human metabolism, and wearing face masks is recommended for the prevention of contracting or exposing others to cardio-respiratory infections. Since the effect of wearing a surgical face mask (SFM) on cardiopulmonary exercise capacity has not been systematically reported we aimed to determine the effects of wearing SFM during an incremental walking test on metabolic, cardiovascular, and pulmonary gas exchange responses in sedentary individuals.
METHODS: The evaluations were performed using a repeated measures study design. Seven sedentary males (age:40years, height:178cm, weight:88kg, BMI:28kg/m2, VO2max:32.7±3.9ml/kg/min) and 7 sedentary female participants (age:34years, height:169cm, weight:62kg, BMI:22kg/m2, VO2max:32.1±6.8 ml/kg/min) volunteered to participate in the current study. Anthropometric parameters were measured using a Bioelectrical impedance analysis prior to each testing session. The measures of lung function assessed by spirometry, breathing pattern, maximal exercise capacity with-and-without mask were measured with a breath-by-breath automated exercise metabolic system during incremental Bruce protocol on a treadmill with two consecutive sessions with 48-h intervals. Blood pressure values (systolic and diastolic pressure) of the individuals were taken and recorded within 1 minute at the end of every ten minutes, without speed changes.
RESULTS: VO2, VCO2, and VE were significantly lower during exercise performed with SFM (p<0.001). Heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure were also found significantly higher during exercise performed with SFM (p<0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: Wearing a SFM during incremental walking predispose a decrease in oxygen delivery while increasing pulmonary ventilation in sedentary individuals. Thus, it could be speculated that surgical face masks have a negative impact on oxygen delivery during exercise which results in decreased exercise performance due to the restricted ventilatory conditions.


KEY WORDS: COVID-19; Physical activity; Cardiovascular; Metabolic; Respiratory

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