Michiganders are definitely not strangers to heat and humidity, but the summer weather can at times, make face masks almost unbearable to wear.

The coronavirus has not magically disappeared.   And it’s continuing to spread.  You just need to look at the record high case numbers happening in at least 10 states like California, Florida, and Alabama.  So yes, a mask may feel at times feel hot to wear, especially when it’s humid out.  But research has shown that they can lower transmission rates, which means fewer folks will get sick.

So what advice do you have to share that will make mask-wearing less uncomfortable?

I suggest that you wear ones that are light-weight like surgical masks or cloth masks.  They tend to be more breathable compared to N95 masks.  And if you start to feel too hot, then take a break.  You can lift the mask up to let in more air and cool yourself down a bit.  But before you even think of touching your mask, it’s important that you make sure that no one is close to you, and that you use hand sanitizer first.   You don’t want to transfer any germs from your hands to your mask or to your face.  Lastly, it’s easy to sweat when out in the hot sun.  So you might want to bring an extra mask with you.  Because if it gets damp, the mask is not as effective at keeping germs out.  Which reminds me, you should wash your cloth masks when you get home to kill off any bacteria that might be on them.

Governor Whitmer recently announced that gyms will be allowed to open by July 4th if the numbers stay low.  Wearing a mask is really hard when working out, how can folks stay safe while at the gym?

I have a gym membership so I know how challenging this is going to be. Now some types of exercise will be easier than others.   I personally like to ride stationary bikes and lift weights at the gym.  And in my opinion, these two will be easier than say a high-energy aerobic class when it comes to wearing a mask.  But it really boils down to how hard your workouts are.  Any mask is going to constrict how much air you breathe in.  And that could make you feel lightheaded.  So you might need to modify your workout so your doing fewer repetitions or just don’t exert yourself as much.  Now you might be tempted to ditch the mask.  But I can’t stress enough that working out indoors raises your risk, a lot.  Because most folks are taking deep breaths in, and deep breaths out.  So you’re more at risk for inhaling contaminated aerosolized droplets that might be carrying the coronavirus.  Or you could be the one that is forcing them out into the air when you exhale.   To me, the safer way to exercise is to be outdoors.  I know there are some gyms that have been offering outdoor classes.  You still need to follow safety precautions, like making sure you’re 6 feet away from others.  But the risk of getting infected with the coronavirus is much lower than working out indoors.

Thinking about returning to the gym? Here\'s what you need to consider.