Man showering for personal hygiene

What Happens to Your Body When You Skip Your Post-Workout Shower

There’s more at risk than offending your co-workers with a foul smell by omitting your post-gym sesh shower. PT reveals the risk of athletes' foot, skin infections and acne.

Not taking care of your personal hygiene smells like trouble! Body odor, clogged pores and skin infections are just some of the problems to expect if a shower isn’t included in your post-workout routine according to Luke Hughes, PT at OriGym. 

Why we sweat

When we exercise our body’s natural reaction is to sweat to regulate our internal temperature. Not only does this cool our body down, but it also filters out any bad toxins and boosts our immune system. Although sweating is vital for our health, we need to make sure we’re practicing good personal hygiene habits to wash away all the nastiness that come with a heavy workout.

Making sure you’re clean and showering regularly doesn’t just keep nasty body odor at bay, but it can also have some great benefits for your mental health.

Cold showers, in particular, can be enjoyed before or after a workout, and leave us feeling more awake, increasing our productivity and energy levels by giving us a chance to enjoy some self-reflection and get our priorities in order. 

Showering after a workout is not only a necessary step to take to wash away bodily fluids and bacteria produced by getting sweaty, but it is also an effective way of reducing the buildup of lactic acid – which is created when our muscles are put under stress from exercise.

Health conditions that can arise if you skip that post-workout shower

1- Acne

A red and sweaty face can be an indication of an exerting workout. As the body heats up and the blood flows around our body, our cheeks get rosy and our face begins to sweat.

When we sweat, our pores open, and neglecting to wash away the residue will cause sweat and sebum to seep back into the skin. This can lead to clogged pores and breakouts.

2- Athlete’s foot 

Hitting a step goal is widely encouraged in order to lead a healthy lifestyle and making sure your feet are clean after you’ve put them through their paces is paramount to ward off health problems like athlete’s foot, fungal nail infections, and a pongy smell.

To foul feet, wash and thoroughly dry them after a workout, change into clean socks, and avoid walking barefoot in public areas in the gym.

3- Body odor

Sweat patches are often regarded as a sign of a great workout, and there’s nothing wrong with sweaty armpits if we’re keeping body odor at bay by washing them after a heavy session. 

Armpits are warm, dark, and often moist making them the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive and cause unpleasant smells. To tackle this humiliating hurdle, use an effective deodorant before hitting the gym, shower thoroughly when you’re finished, and then apply more deodorant. 

4- Colds and infections

After COVID, we all know the importance of washing our hands regularly throughout the day. A regular hand cleaning routine can prevent the spreading of a variety of infections, from the common cold to threadworms and conjunctivitis, and it’s even more important in a gym setting.

When we’re in the gym we touch surfaces that hundreds of other people have touched and passed their bacteria onto, from a door handle, toilet flush or a barbell.

Public places where people come to get sweaty are a hive for infections and bacteria, So, prevent catching infectious illnesses by sanitizing your hands and your workout station after using each piece of equipment.

4- Yeast infections

Similar to our armpits, the groin is covered in hair follicles and has a high concentration of sweat glands, making it prone to excessive moisture. Skipping a post-session shower and staying in sweaty workout clothes, could land you with a nasty yeast infection or skin rash.

Fortunately, taking a warm shower after the gym will rinse away the bacteria from our groin, and leave us feeling clean and fresh.

Luke Hughes, Personal Trainer and MD at Origym says: “Making sure you’re clean prior to entering and leaving the gym is a must, not just for the people you’re sharing the gym with, but also for your own health.

“Practicing good hand-washing is also important, you wouldn’t want to pick up a dumbbell knowing that someone has just sneezed into their hands and trained with it.

“Adding a shower to your post-gym routine won’t just leave you clean, but it’s the perfect way to ease muscle soreness and prevent delayed onset muscle soreness.”

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