When you complete your last rep on the gym floor, your body has just undergone an awesome internal tune up. As a result, you’re feeling great and your internal systems are primed. But what about your outside? Unless you take the time and effort to engage in a little post workout hygiene, you are not going to be at your best. In this article, we present four essential post workout habits that should be part of your routine.
Pack Flip Flops in the Shower
Along with your change of clothes, workout towel, yoga mat, water bottle and pre-workout, toss a pair of flip flops into your workout bag before you leave your home. That way you’ll be able to provide your feet with a barrier between them and bacteria that’s lurking on the bathroom floor. Gym bathrooms are notorious harbingers of fungi and bacteria.
If you wander around the gym changing rooms bare footed, you are putting yourself at risk of developing such conditions as athlete’s foot. Simply kick off your training shoes and socks and slip on a pair of flip flops to prevent that from happening.
By the way, when you are in the gym shower, be sure to wash your hair along with your body. After your workout, your hair will be filled with sweat which, if left, unattended, can lead to the development of such conditions as acne. Take your own favorite shampoo and conditioner.
Our first tip assumes that you are going to have a shower after your workout, which is not an unreasonable expectation. There are times, however, when you are not able to do that. Maybe you’re on an especially tight schedule or you have left your towel at home. If that is the case, you should at least change your clothes before you leave the gym. If you’ve had a halfway decent workout, everything that you’re wearing will be caked in sweat. That means that it will stink. So, do everyone you come across a favor and take a couple of minutes to slip into a new outfit.
Getting changed post workout includes putting on new underwear. If guys don’t bother to do this, they are likely to be lagged by the rather embarrassing condition known as jock itch. Women who don’t change out of sweaty undergarments may result in an increased level of vaginal pH, leading to bacterial growth in the area.
Wash Your Hands and Face
This is another one for those who cannot fit in the time for a post workout shower. This is especially relevant in our pandemic environment. In a gym setting you are going to be grabbing onto barbells, dumbbells and gym equipment handles that others have been grabbing onto. That means that there is an increased likelihood of picking up germs from open cuts and wounds.
When your workout is over, take a trip to the changing rooms and spend a few minutes giving your hands a decent wash. Be sure to use soap (if they don’t have any, bring your own) and thoroughly cover both sides of your hands.
Once you are done washing your hands, it’s time to give your face the clean treatment. Your workout will have brought out sweat and oils. Unless these are cleaned away, they will clog up the pores on your skin. This can lead to an increase in bacterial growth.
While we’re talking about the pores on your skin, it is important that these remain open while you are working out. This will allow your skin to breath. If it is not able to do so, you are likely to end up with acne. That is why a woman’s workout skincare routine should involve removing their make-up before they head to the gym. You can put it back on when you’ve had your post workout shower.
Clean Your Gear Regularly
Your training equipment should be washed on a regular basis. This includes your yoga mat, your workout gloves and training towel. Run these through your washing machine or hand wash them on your training off day. It is especially important to regularly clean your yoga mat. After a heavy session of Bikram yoga your exercise mat will be covered in sweat and germs. If you leave it unattended, bacteria is likely to grow within the mat itself.
When shopping for a yoga mat, look out for a fungus free version that will minimize the possibility of picking up a germ from it.
Taking just a few minutes after your workout has finished to follow some basic, common sense hygiene habits will benefit you in the long run. It will help to ward off bacteria, prevent acne and other nasties while making you look, smell and feel a whole lot better. So, why wouldn’t you?