SASKATOON -- A fitness chain with hundreds of locations, mostly concentrated in the U.S., has walked back its mask policy to something more in line with the recommendations of Saskatchewan public health officials.

Planet Fitness, which has a handful of Canadian locations, including one in Saskatoon on Preston Avenue, had planned to require masks at all times — even during workouts — to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

However, the strict policy went against the advice of the province's health ministry.

“At this time, Saskatchewan recommends that people do not wear masks when exercising as masks may reduce the ability to breathe comfortably,” the Ministry of Health said in a statement to CTV News on Tuesday.

The World Health Organization also recommends against wearing a mask while working out because sweat makes it hard to breathe and can promote the growth of microorganisms. 

Planet Fitness has since changed course and has adjusted its policy to allow masks to be removed while "actively working out."

Under the updated policy, the club will still require masks to be worn at all other times unless patrons are in a private area such as a shower or tanning room.

"Thank you in advance for your support and adherence to this policy. This added safety precaution also helps us to remain open to serve you and keep you healthy and active," Planet Fitness says on its website.