Tips for exercising with a face mask on

A few months ago, the idea of going out to run with your nose and mouth completely covered wouldn’t have even crossed our minds. It would have actually have seemed a bit ridiculous. But since the government made it law that a person must wear a face mask which covers the nose and mouth when in a public space to help slow the spread of COVID-19, strapping on a mask after lacing up has become a reality.

Like so many aspects of life within the pandemic, masked running takes some getting used to. You may notice that your pace is slightly slower than usual, or you feel fatigued faster.

Compared with normal breathing, wearing any kind of protective mask decreases the flow of air into your lungs. Less oxygen in your lungs means less oxygen in your bloodstream and your working muscles, which is what makes training more difficult.

Anyone, even those who have a relatively high level of fitness, should expect to fatigue faster when exercising with a face mask. The good news is that over a few weeks, your body will adapt by becoming more efficient at metabolizing oxygen.

Should you start to feel lightheaded, dizzy and have shortness of breath while exercising with a mask on, stop and take a rest until the symptoms have past. Taking deeper, slower breaths will also help.

Face masks vary in their levels of airflow restriction, depending on the type and thickness of material. When exercising try use a mask made of thinner material, or one which fits slightly looser over your face and will give less resistance when breathing.

So, if you’re feeling discouraged by a tough masked run, there is reassurance knowing that it’ll probably pay off down the line. With races cancelled and postponed, now isn’t the time to try and smash your PR. Try on maintaining a running routine that feels manageable, supports your mental health, and allows you to adhere to social distancing rules.

Breastfeeding in an Era of COVID-19

With the global Covid-19 pandemic, we are all doing very well to protect ourselves and others from the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. We follow all the guidelines, including maintaining a physical distance (2m) as well as regular hand hygiene (thorough 20-second hand wash or hand sanitizer).


So, what happens with breastfeeding during this time?


Fortunately, protecting your baby is like protecting yourself.

Scientists are still learning about this new virus, and medical research is ongoing. But from what experts know so far, it is safe to breastfeed your baby. However, this situation calls for some special precautions, especially if you have any symptoms of the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19.

Researchers have not yet found SARS-CoV-2 in breast milk, though research is limited.


Guidelines for “safe” breastfeeding

If you can breastfeed your baby, it is important to keep it up. But there are special guidelines to protect your baby during this pandemic.

While we have already established that you likely cannot pass on the new coronavirus through your breast milk, you can still pass it through droplets from your mouth and nose or by touching your baby after coming in contact with your face or these droplets.


  1.  Wash your hands frequently & carefully before
  • * touching your baby,
  • * especially before and after you pick up your baby or
  • * handle baby bottles and other baby items.


  1. Wear a mask while you are breastfeeding your baby – even if you do not have symptoms.

Also, wear a mask while you are holding, changing, or talking to your baby. This will likely be uncomfortable for you, but it can help prevent a coronavirus infection.


  1. Disinfect surfaces
  • * Clean and disinfect anything you have touched with an alcohol-based cleaner. This includes counter tops,       changing tables, bottles and clothing.
  • * Also, clean surfaces that are widely used and may be contaminated with droplets, e.g. door handles, toilet     flushing mechanisms, taps.
  • * Carefully clean and disinfect everything that might touch your baby.


  1. Pump breast milk and have your partner or a family member feed your baby.
  • * Wash your hands and clean any area of skin the breast pump will touch.
  • * Ensure that the bottle is completely sterile by placing it in boiled water between feedings.
  • * Disinfect the breast milk parts carefully with boiled water or soap and water.


  1. Keep baby formula on hand if you feel you are ill or have symptoms of COVID-19. Keep baby formula and sterile baby bottles on hand ready to go, just in case.


Breast milk provide baby with immunity

Breast milk gives your baby protection against several kinds of illnesses. Breast milk not only fills your baby’s hungry tummy, it also gives them automatic — but temporary — immunity against some bacteria and viruses.


Medical research on another kind of coronavirus (SARS-CoV) found antibodies to it in breast milk. Antibodies are like little soldiers that look for a certain kind of germ and get rid of it before it can cause harm. Your body makes antibodies when you contract an illness or when you get a vaccine for it.


Risks of breastfeeding currently

Talk to your doctor if you must use any medication.

They may tell you not to breastfeed your baby or give your baby pumped breast milk if you are taking certain medications for a SARS-CoV-2 infection or other viral infection.

So, while there is currently no established treatment for COVID-19, it is an evolving situation. Not all the drugs being considered as potential treatments have lactation data.

If you have severe COVID-19 symptoms, do not try to breastfeed. You need your energy to help you recover from this infection.


Bonding – with precautions

With a new baby you almost always go unknowingly into a type of self-isolation, even before Covid-19!

As we self-isolate to protect ourselves, our families, and everyone else, some things are quite different. This includes breastfeeding your baby. Do not worry. This is all temporary.

Meanwhile, here is what breastfeeding (or bottle-feeding) your baby may look like for now:

  1.  You hear your baby stirring and know he is about to let out the hungry cry, but
  2.  you take a few minutes to carefully wash your hands with warm water and soap.
  3.  Put your face mask on, carefully touching the elastic ties that go around your ears only. This virus travels     speedily through tiny droplets from the mouth and nose.
  4.  Put on a pair of sterile gloves to open the door to your baby’s room and turn off the baby monitor. Get   everything ready for feeding. Corona viruses can live on plastic, stainless steel, and cardboard surfaces.
  5.  Take off the gloves carefully without touching the outsides — you do not want to re-infect your hands.
  6.  Alternatively, use a hand sanitizer just before handling your baby.
  7.  Smile with your eyes, softly singing, talking and calling baby’s name as you pick up your baby. Your baby   does not notice the mask — they are used to it, and besides, they are hungry.
  8.  Your baby snuggles into your lap, “tummy to mommy”, and is ready to eat.
  9.  Avoid touching your own face and your baby’s face, gently caressing the back instead.
  10.  As your baby feeds, you keep your hands and attention on him. Touching your phone, laptop, or     anything else risks infecting your clean hands and baby.
  11.  Relax and bond as he feed himself into a peaceful slumber.


You do not have to miss out on this precious bonding while taking precautions.


Contact your physiotherapist at 021-976 4832 or should you experience any problems.




Pelvic Pain Awareness Month PART 3:


Conditions that only affect women

Pelvic pain arising from the female reproductive system might be caused by conditions such as:

  1. Mittelschmerz (Painful Ovulation) is pain in the lower belly and pelvis that some women get when they ovulate. Ovulation is the release of an egg from the fallopian tube that occurs halfway through your menstrual cycle. The pain you feel from mittelschmerz is on the side of your abdomen where the egg is released. Mittelschmerz is not serious.


  1. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menstrual cramps: Most women get cramps in their lower abdomen just before and during their monthly menstrual period. The discomfort comes from hormone changes, and from the uterus contracting as it pushes out the uterine lining. Painful periods are called dysmenorrhea. 10 % of women have pain severe enough to disrupt their daily life. A heating pad, over-the-counter pain relievers, exercise and de-stressing can help.


  1. Ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus — usually in the fallopian tubes. As the egg grows, it can cause the fallopian tube to burst, which can be life threatening and a medical emergency. Pain from an ectopic pregnancy comes on quickly and can feel sharp or stabbing.
  1. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection in a woman’s reproductive tract. It starts when bacteria get into the vagina and travel to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or other reproductive organs. PID is usually caused by an STI. The pain from PID is centered in the lower belly. It can feel tender or achy. If left untreated, PID can lead to infertility.
  1. Ovarian cyst rupture or torsion: Ovaries release eggs when you ovulate. Sometimes a follicle does not open to release the egg. Or it recloses after it does and swells with fluid. This causes an ovarian cyst. They are usually harmless and go away on their own. But they may cause pelvic pain, pressure, swelling, and bloating. However, if a cyst twists or breaks open (ruptures), it can cause pain in your lower belly on the same side as the cyst. The pain can be sharp or dull, and it may come and go.
  1. Uterine fibroids: Uterine fibroids are growths in the wall of the uterus and are common during a woman’s reproductive years. It is usually not cancerous. Fibroids can range in size from tiny seeds to large lumps that make your belly grow. Larger fibroids may cause pressure or pain in the pelvis. Fibroids are common in women in their 30s and 40s. 


  1. Endometriosis is when tissue that normally lines your uterus grows in other parts of your pelvis. When it is time for your period, the tissue thickens and break down. But the tissue has no way to leave the body. It can cause pain and form scar tissue that may make it tough to get pregnant.

11 % of women between the ages of 15 and 44 develop endometriosis.

Endometriosis causes pelvic pain before and during your period. The pain can be severe.

  1. Pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS): Varicose veins develop around your ovaries. The valves that normally keep blood flowing in the right direction through the veins no longer work. This causes blood to back up in your veins, which swell up. This condition is much more common in women. Pelvic pain is the main symptom. The pain can feel dull or achy. It will often get worse during the day, especially if you have been sitting or standing a lot.


  1. Pelvic Organ Prolapse: The female pelvic organs stay in place thanks to a hammock of muscles and other tissues that support them. Due to childbirth and age, these muscles can weaken and allow the bladder, uterus, and rectum to fall down into the vagina. Pelvic organ prolapse can affect women of any age, but it’s most common in older women. This condition can cause a feeling of pressure or heaviness in your pelvis. You might also feel a lump protruding from your vagina. Special exercises or surgery may help.



  1. Vulvodynia it hurts when you ride a bike or have sex. It burns, stings, or throbs around the opening of your vagina and the feelings can be ongoing or come and go. Treatment options range from medication to physical therapy