Tom Lawton was tired of hearing people say masks make it harder to breathe, so he wore one on a 35K run around Bradford, U.K., where he lives. Lawton is an ICU doctor, and in a recent interview, he told CTV News that he was looking for a way to prove that masks do not significantly affect a wearer’s oxygen levels. “How can I demonstrate it?” he wondered. “How can I reassure people who would like to do their bit and wear a mask but are scared?” He ultimately decided to wear a mask while running, and the results turned out exactly as he expected they would.
— CTV News (@CTVNews) August 2, 2020
While simply running in a mask is enough to confirm that the face covering doesn’t inhibit one’s breathing, Lawton decided to take it a step further and monitor his oxygen levels throughout the entire 35K outing. He told CTV that he carried a pulse oximeter, which measured his levels, while he ran to work. Lawton noted that a “normal” oxygen level is anything at 95 per cent or higher, and he said his levels never dipped below this bar at any point during his run.
“They were 98 to 99 all the time, completely normal oxygen levels all the way.” The mask was not the most comfortable thing to wear while running, Lawton said, but he had no issues breathing throughout the run.
If a hospital worker can wear a mask nonstop during a 10-hour shift.
If women can wear masks during labor.
You can wear a mask while running an errand.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 21, 2020
“It’s certainly unpleasant and I feel for the people who don’t like wearing them, but this is one of the things that’s going to help us,” he said. It’s not necessary to wear a mask when running outside, but if you would feel safer and more comfortable doing so, Lawton’s run is proof that it’s safe to try out.