As frustrating as it is to wear a restrictive cloth-type thing on your face when it’s muggy out, it’s still crucial to wear face masks (preferably breathable face masks that you’ll want to actually keep on your face) when you’re doing any activity, like running, where social distancing may be difficult.
Although N95s are your best options for filtering out droplets and particulates, the CDC still recommends we leave those to the medical professionals and instead find something breathable (like cotton) that doesn’t involve any gaping around the sides of your mask. There is still some debate about the efficacy of wearing a gaiter or bandana, though research suggests that neither is great at preventing the spread of respiratory droplets.
When selecting a cloth mask, your best rule of thumb is to wear one that will securely fit around your nose and mouth and involve multiple layers of tightly woven material. To make sure your mask situation has enough layers and fits snugly to your face, the CDC suggests doubling up on masks (by layering a disposable surgical mask under a cloth mask) or wearing a mask brace. But, of course, don’t wear two masks at once if that makes it difficult to breathe.
Some sportswear brands like Under Armour have issued their own breathable, moisture-wicking masks catered specifically to runners and athletes, ones that make it easier for people exercising to move and sweat without wanting to fling off their masks. Other brands, like Caraa and House of Woo, have created lighter-weight summer styles that feel slightly breezier on sweltering days (and are lightweight enough to layer over a surgical mask, if you find it necessary). Here, some of the best breathable face masks to wear when you exercise, or when the weather just feels unbearable.
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