Recommendations for Face Coverings While Exercising During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jonathan Shurlock, Borja Muniz-Pardos, Ross Tucker, Norbert Bachl, Theodora Papadopoulou, Graham Holloway, Nigel Jones, Xavier Bigard, Karin Vonbank, David Niederseer, Joachim Meyer, Dennis Nowak, Andre Debruyne, Petra Zupet, Herbert Löllgen, Juergen M. Steinacker, Bernd Wolfarth, James Lee John Bilzon, Anca Ionescu, Michiko DohiJeroen Swart, Demitri Constantinou, Victoriya Badtieva, Irina Zelenkova, Maurizio Casasco, Michael Geistlinger, Chiara Fossati, Federica Fagnani, L. Di Luigi, Nick Webborn, Konstantinos Angeloudis, Fergus Guppy, Patrick Singleton, Mike Miller, Fabio Pigozzi, Yannis Pitsiladis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In an effort to reduce transmission and number of infections of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19) virus, governments and official bodies around the world have produced guidelines on the use of face masks and face coverings. While there is a growing body of recommendations for healthcare professionals and the wider population to use facial protection in “enclosed spaces” where minimal distancing from other individuals is not possible, there is a dearth of clear guidelines for individuals undertaking exercise and sporting activity. The present viewpoint aims to propose recommendations for face coverings while exercising during the COVID-19 pandemic that consider physical distancing, the environment, the density of active cases associated with the specific sports activity, and the practical use of face coverings in order to reduce potential viral transmission. Recommendations are provided on the basis of very limited available evidence in conjunction with the extensive collective clinical experience of the authors and acknowledging the need to consider the likelihood of the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 in the general population. We recommend that face coverings should be used in any environment considered to be of a high or moderate transmission risk, where tolerated and after individual risk assessment. In addition, as national caseloads fluctuate, individual sporting bodies should consider up to date guidance on the use of face coverings during sport and exercise, alongside other preventative measures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19
JournalSports Medicine Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s). 2021 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit


  • Covid-19
  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • exercise
  • face covering
  • mask


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