Date Presented

Spring 5-15-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Exercise Physiology

First Advisor

Dr. Jill Lucas

Second Advisor

Dr. Debbie Bradney

Third Advisor

Dr. Christine Terry


The existence of the COVID-19 global pandemic has forced the introduction of wearing face masks when in public spaces or in near proximity to others. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the physiological effects and perceptions of wearing a sports mask compared to a standard surgical face mask during exercise. Nineteen subjects, 10 male and 9 female subjects ranging between 19-25 years of age completed the 5-minute Forestry Step Test randomized to wear either an Under Armour sports mask, a standard surgical mask, or wearing no mask. Resting and post-exercise heart rate, RPE, and metabolic data was compared between conditions. Subjects' subjective perception of the masked conditions during the exercise test was also assessed. The results of the study were analyzed via repeated measures ANOVA and showed the most significant difference between wearing the surgical mask condition and the no mask condition. The physiological variables regarding air flow that showed significance between conditions were minute ventilation and respiratory rate and the variables regarding air composition that showed significance were VCO2 and relative VO2, all with p-values <0.05. The subjective sensations that showed a significant difference included humid, hot, resistance, itchy, tight, fatigue, and overall discomfort. The results of this study can be used to inform the general public on the effects of wearing a face mask during physical activity and exercise and individuals can choose a face mask more suitable for activity.