Being outside without a mask is a breathtaking feeling

Nidia Torres, Columnist

Whether it is walking and jogging or running and full-on sprinting, the need to wear masks is not a strong one. Exercise requires the ability to master breathing techniques to avoid becoming winded too easily and too quickly. 

That is why I don’t force myself to use my mask while I am exercising or out in the park with my 10-week-old Rottweiler Dex.

At first, I did make it a habit to bring my mask to wear while in the park. The one time I did, I was battling for breath. For some reason, it became hard to properly breathe. Meanwhile, there were many other people in the same park without a mask. I was very surprised at this and initially, a little confused. 

That’s when the realization came to me, I don’t have to wear a mask while in the park. Relief, a little sense of normalcy and happiness came to me. Relief because it’s been more than a year now that we’ve had to wear masks to be out in public places. It’s not really a normal concept here.

I was also glad to have a little sense of normalcy back because it had been so long since I had to go anywhere without having to wear a mask. Seeing all these people – obviously spread out and still maintaining that distancing with others – made me miss the “old times.”

I was suddenly reminiscing about all the times I’ve gone to the park with family or friends, not having to wear a mask or socially distance myself from others. Those were good times because everything was normal. There was not really a strong need to worry about how people could spread a virus.

Looking back has made me that much grateful for those moments. It’s also given me hope that maybe this will all come to an end soon. 

Happiness was also in the mix because I could finally breathe. I don’t think anyone has really put a lot of thought and appreciation on how good it feels to breathe without a mask. I’m sure we’ve all felt the suffocating, hot feel of breathing with a mask. Clearly, many others in the park have the same thoughts because they didn’t feel the need to use a mask as well. 

Wearing a mask is still an important factor to lower the chances of spreading the virus. It’s still important to follow the rules and guidelines. Maintaining distance using our personal protective equipment continues to be important. 

While I don’t always wear a mask while exercising or simply walking in the park, I still maintain my distance from others and avoid contact. I believe there is only so much we can handle. Having little moments like this keeps me sane, appreciative, grateful and happy. 

I’m sure everyone can appreciate these little moments. Always having to wear a mask out in public, while necessary, can be challenging. Take a walk in the park, exercise, do what you love and be safe. Those are some of the little things we can ask for. The rest is up to you.