Coronavirus News: Experts recommend running with face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- As the coronavirus pandemic rages on in New York City, fitness experts are recommending a major change to your routine: cover your nose and mouth on that outdoor run.

"Our job is to make sure we are doing what's best for the greater good, and I think wearing the protection, it doesn't hurt," New York Road Runners President and CEO Michael Capiraso said.

The recommendation reflects a rapidly evolving view. On Wednesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recommended all New Yorkers wear a face covering outside when social distancing was not possible.

"At first I wasn't sure," Capiraso said. "I don't usually run with something like this...But I tried it out, and there were a few times where I may have taken it down and back up. But the last few days, I've been doing my entire run with it on there, and it's been perfectly fine."

On a brisk, sunny Thursday morning in Central Park, a handful of the runners and cyclists were wearing some sort of face covering, but many others still went without one. One rule most appeared to follow, though, keeping that recommended six feet of distance.

"New Yorkers are getting it," New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said. "The world is getting it."

Silver said he had no plans to recommend shutting down the parks, like New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy did in his state. But he is urging park goers to exercise good judgment by using the park off peak or perhaps even choosing a different route.

"People are teleworking, but you notice a big increase after 6 p.m.," he said. "I ran last night. A little too many people for me not wearing their face coverings, so I was very uncomfortable. So I cut my run short."

He said he now typically runs Monday, Wednesday and Friday, around lunchtime when the park is less crowded.

The parks department is also offering at-home fitness videos for people who prefer to do their exercise and meditation indoors, and the NYRR is hosting some events as well, including a virtual 5K and at home classes.

"You can go out anytime and do it from now to the end of the month," Capiraso said.

The NYRR has also been active in the fight against COVID-19, donating $100,00 Mayor Bill de Blasio's fund to help feed healthcare workers.

They also donated gloves and rain ponchos, many of which went unused after the NYC Half Marathon was canceled in March. Capiraso is hoping for the best, that the 50th Anniversary of NYC Marathon will still happen come November.

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