A Comparison of the Effect of Facemasks on Perceived Breathability and Air Quality during Daily Activities and Indoor Exercises

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Transmission of COVID-19 occurs predominantly through respired droplets and aerosols containing the SARS-CoV-2 virus. As a solution, face masks have been used to protect against infection. Wearing face masks during indoor exercises is essential to prevent the spread of virus-containing respiratory droplets and aerosols. However, previous studies have not investigated all elements, including the users’ perceived breathability (PB) and perceived air quality (PAQ) when wearing a face mask during indoor exercises. The current study aimed to assess users’ perceived comfort (PC) of face masks based on assessment criteria of PB and PAQ during moderate to vigorous exercises, and compare them with those during normal daily activities. Data on PC, PB, and PAQ were collected from an online questionnaire survey from 104 participants doing regular moderate to vigorous exercises. Within-subjects comparison with self-controlled case series design was performed to compare PC, PB, and PAQ between wearing face masks during exercises and daily activities. Results showed that the degree of dissatisfaction with PC, PB, and PAQ while wearing face masks and performing indoor exercises is higher than when performing daily activities (p < 0.05). The significance of the study implies that masks comfortable for daily activities may not remain the same during moderate to vigorous exercises, especially during indoor exercises.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4144
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number5
Early online date25 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Health Professions

User-Defined Keywords

  • face mask
  • perceived comfort
  • perceived breathability
  • perceived air quality
  • indoor exercises
  • airborne transmission
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • self-controlled case series
  • well being
  • public health


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