Running errands after your workout has become all too common in our "pressed for time" lives. You grab some groceries, get the kids from school, stop for gas. Although your workout gear is super adorable, if it is also sweaty, it is likely not that safe. There are lots of uncomfortable and unwanted health related side effects to living in your workout clothes, here are 7:
1. Saddle Sores
Spin instructor, Shannon H., was confused when her backside started to hurt and burn after her workouts. She was used to bike seats and the only solution she could come up with was to spend more time wearing her padded bike shorts. Unfortunately, this didn't help at all and she developed saddle sores. They were so extreme that she had to seek medical attention. In fact, they had to be lanced and packed with gauze until they healed! She now wears normal wicking workout bottoms which Sheryl Ross, M.D., an ob-gyn and women's health expert in Santa Monica, CA., says is the right thing to do. Wearing the same type of tight-fitting fabric every day doesn't give the bum a break and the thickness of the fabric holds moisture and bacteria, making it impossible for wounds to heal.
2. Athlete's Foot
Packing for the gym is sometimes a complicated affair, especially when you're running late. That is why it can be easy to forget smaller items like clean socks and underwear. But spending the whole day in your sweaty socks post-workout can lead to the fungus known as athlete's foot. The warm, moist environment is perfect for the growth of fungi and bacteria. Buy yourself a pair of wicking socks and spray your feet with deodorant before hand to cut down on sweating. At the very least, remember to pack a spare pair!
3. Yeast Infections
Not uncommon, yeast infections are incredibly unpleasant. While we don't always know what causes them, walking around in wet workout shorts could be a factor. "Itching can be due to excessive moisture, like after working out. However, if it persists after showering, it can be a sign of a yeast infection," explains Allison Hill, M.D., an ob-gyn at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles and co-author of The Mommy Docs' Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Birth
. "If you've never had one before, you should see your doctor to confirm." In order to avoid them, shower and rise your genitals with clean water as soon as you can after your workout. Then, put on clean, dry underwear.
4. Staph Infections
Staphylococcus bacteria lives everywhere and only needs a chance to flourish. Unfortunately, the warm, moist environment of the gym is perfect. While not usually a big deal, some staph infections can send you to the hospital or even kill you. Dr. James Marrotta, M.D., a plastic surgeon in Long Island, NY, says, "Take care of the little things. Wash your hands with regular soap, singing 'Happy Birthday' three times through; always shower right after your workout; and if you do end up with any type of open sore, don't expose them at the gym."
5. Chest Ulcers
If you are a large busted woman and find yourself wearing two sports bras just to stay in place, you might want to reconsider. Layering compressing sports bras can lead to sores breaking out along the bra band. "Double bagging" is a common trick but isn't good for breast health, says LaJean Lawson, Ph.D., adjunct professor of exercise and sport science at Oregon State University. A better plan is to invest in a high quality sports bra with smooth, low-friction fabrics to cut down on chafing.
Cysts appear as big, red, swollen spots or bumps. They can be common, especially in areas where sweat and dirt can be trapped against the skin, like where the straps from your tank sit. If you get a cyst, no matter what, don't pop it yourself. "Squeezing often leads to greater inflammation which can lead to scarring or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation," says Susan Bard, M.D., a dermatologist at Vanguard Dermatology in New York. Wait for them to go away on their own or visit your doctor if they become painful.
7. Bacterial Vaginosis
If you are spending most of your time in your workout bottoms, you could easily develop bacterial vaginosis. This occurs when the good and bad bacteria in the vagina get thrown out of balance. "Every woman has her own scent. However, if you have a lot of discharge and smell 'fishy', this can be the sign of a bacterial infection called bacterial vaginosis," Hill says. "You should see your doctor to confirm as you likely need antibiotics to treat it."
After you smash your workout, (choose from over 80 hours of workouts on demand with Sweatflix℠
) get out of those clothes!
Have you experienced any of these unwanted health troubles?