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With the contagious delta variant spreading — it is now the predominant strain in the U.S. — the CDC is recommending that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people mask up once again when indoors to help prevent the spread. For some, that may mean wearing a mask to the gym as a precaution.
For months at the start of the year when mask mandates were in effect, I avoided running or working out — all because of the mask. I hated exercising with a mask on.
I find my go-to face mask uncomfortable to wear when exercising, especially in wet weather. And there are safety issues: according to the CDC, when the cloth and surgical varieties grow damp and heavy they become less effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. (It is recommended you switch out your mask when it becomes wet.)
That’s why I was so intrigued when I heard about the Under Armour Sportsmask, which sold out in less than an hour after it became available June 2020.
Created specifically for athletes, the water-resistant UA mask is designed to give your mouth and nose ample space to breathe. It features three protective layers, including a water-resistant outer shell, a polyurethane foam filter and an antimicrobial interior to help keep the material fresh. Stretchy nylon and spandex ear loops and a moldable nose-bridge hold the mask in place.
When I first took the UA Sportsmask out of its packaging, I was struck by its plushness and sleek stitching. Just like the company promised, the fabric felt cool against my skin. But I immediately regretted guessing my size instead of using their size chart. I ordered the small/medium and the ear loops were a bit tight. Take the time to measure your face and get the size right.
I did find myself having to adjust the ear loops — my own fault for not measuring — but I am happy to report that the UA mask lives up to the hype! The mask stayed put during a 40-minute run and didn’t cling to my mouth when I was huffing and puffing up hills. I was sweating profusely but the temperature inside the mask felt unchanged. How amazing is that?
I also sported the UA mask during a 45-minute HIIT cycling class at home and never felt like I wanted to rip it off my face.
Though the UA Mask is designed to be worn while exercising, I’ve been wearing mine just about everywhere I go because it’s so comfortable and my voice doesn't sound muffled.
I’ll definitely be buying another!
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