More Hawaii gyms are requiring masks, even during strenuous workouts

Updated: Jul. 21, 2020 at 4:59 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - At The Bar Method in Moiliili, fitness fans are feeling the burn ― while wearing a mask.

The gym said it decided to make mask wearing mandatory as a precaution.

“We’ve been open five and a half years so we definitely wanted to do the right thing and keep everyone safe and know that anyone walking into the studio is safe,” said Elaina Olson, co-owner of The Bar Method.

Other gyms are doing the same.

At the YMCA of Honolulu, members are required to wear face coverings at all times ― even during a heavy workout. If it’s too difficult to breathe, some members can wear a face shield as an alternative.

“There is some concern on everybody’s part about the airborne nature of COVID transmission so we decided to take a more conservative safer approach and require masks all the time,” said Mike Doss, executive vice president and chief operating officer of YMCA of Honolulu.

Stefano Magadinno pumps 90 pounds of weight for four sets of 15 repetitions. It’s a strenuous workout made even more challenging with a mask.

"At first, it was a little difficult because I couldn't get enough air so I learned to pace myself," he said.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Elizabeth Ignacio also said wearing a mask takes getting used to.

"It's not so much the carbon dioxide, it's the resistance of breathing the air flow," she said.

"I do want to validate people that do feel the mask is uncomfortable and difficult to breathe," she added.

Ignacio says wearing a mask is not harmful and won’t deplete your blood of oxygen.

"It is not an oxygenation dangerous issue. It's a level of comfort and conditioning and getting used to it," she said.

While the government doesn’t mandate masks while exercising, Ignacio credits gyms that go the extra mile.

“It is for the greater good especially in an indoor kind of gym atmosphere because there is a lot of heavy breathing. It is important to wear the mask,” she said.

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