Driver S; Brown KD; Gilliland T; Reynolds M; Bennett M; McShan E; Kim CHJ; Freese E; Belling P; Gottlieb RL;
Proceedings (Baylor University. Medical Center) [Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent)] 2023 Feb 23; Vol. 36 (3), pp. 318-324. Date of Electronic Publication: 2023 Feb 23 (Print Publication: 2023).
Wearing a cloth face mask has been shown to impair exercise performance; it is essential to understand the impact wearing a cloth face mask may have on cognitive performance. Participants completed two maximal cardiopulmonary exercise tests on a cycle ergometer (with and without a cloth face mask) with a concurrent cognitive task. Blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, perceived exertion, shortness of breath, accuracy, and reaction time were measured at rest, during each exercise stage, and following a 4-minute recovery period. The final sample included 35 adults (age = 26.1 ± 5.8 years; 12 female/23 male). Wearing a cloth face mask was associated with significant decreases in exercise duration (-2:00 ± 3:40 min, P = 0.003), peak measures of maximal oxygen uptake (-818.9 ± 473.3 mL/min, -19.0 ± 48 mL·min -1 ·kg -1 , P < 0.001), respiratory exchange ratio (-0.04 ± 0.08, P = 0.005), minute ventilation (-36.9 ± 18 L/min), oxygen pulse (-3.9 ± 2.3, P < 0.001), heart rate (-7.9 ± 12.6 bpm, P < 0.001), oxygen saturation (-1.5 ± 2.8%, P = 0.004), and blood lactate (-1.7 ± 2.5 mmol/L, P < 0.001).
While wearing a cloth face mask significantly impaired exercise performance during maximal exercise testing, cognitive performance was unaffected in this selected group of young, active adults.
Competing Interests: This study was funded by the BSW Foundation.