Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness

No, this isn’t a quote from the Bible as many people are inclined to believe. If I didn’t know any better, I would assume the quote was penned by my late grandmother, who had an intense form of OCD that had her constantly cleaning to the point where she’d walk around her house by sliding her feet on a couple of pieces of paper towel for the following two days. Luckily I’m not THAT bad, but cleanliness is important, which brings me to the point of today’s post…

Maintaining a consistent workout routine can be challenging, especially if you happen to be working a full-time job and handling personal and family responsibilities on a daily basis. For some people, working out can be a very relaxing thing, but many people neglect proper cleanliness AFTER the workouts and this can lead to some smelly and disgusting issues.

If you’ve ever been to a public gym, you’ve noticed that they always (or at least should) provide spray bottles and rags to disinfect and wipe down equipment after each use. The same thing applies to one’s personal workout items. Oh, and one’s body. You gotta wash that body! Nothing worse than someone funking up the immediate area because they hammered out a workout and chose not to shower. Just take the five minutes and wash yourself up. Damn! But I digress…

One of the most well-known issues with sweaty gym gear, specifically clothing, is that leaving them unwashed will make them smell bad. That’s a no-brainer, right? But besides the smell, which no one enjoys, leaving them in this state for long enough can also lead to some nasty staining on your clothes and can even lead to the development of mildew. This is especially problematic if you’re the type to get home or go back to work and drop your gym bag in the corner and ignore it for hours on end.

Picture this: you just finished a wicked run of cardio, you’re coated with sweat and you need to get back to the work day. You go back up to your office and drop your gym bag on the floor by the door. Over the next few hours, that warm, moist sweat (yes, I used the word “moist,” get over it) is contained inside your gym bag where bacteria breeds and mildew can form. Do this often enough and stains that form will become permanent.

Something that most people don’t realize is that sweat itself is inherently odourless. It’s the oils and bacteria on our bodies that cause the smell and when that’s soaked into a fitness garment, it needs to be washed as soon as possible. As do you. Failing to do so can cause blocked pores, rashes, acne in places you don’t want (not that you want acne anywhere, necessarily) and increased chafing if you’re foolish enough to re-wear an unwashed garment.

The ideal scenario is to launder your workout gear as soon as the workout is done. Even removing them from your bag and dropping into the laundry hamper isn’t ideal, as you’re just letting the funk sit there. But I if you find yourself in a position where you CAN’T launder your clothes right away, they should be laid out somewhere with good ventilation and permitted to dry. When you DO launder your garments, it’s best to use hot water to help kill the bacteria. Depending on the garment and your comfort level, a splash of bleach can help, as well.

Also, it’s easy to forget some of the unsung heroes of your workout routine. Namely, your gym bag and your sneakers/shoes. These tend to get neglected and the unfortunate reality is that your sweaty gear gets piled into that bag constantly, so if you don’t wash your gym bag regularly, you’re basically piling clean, pre-workout clothing on top of a bacteria colony. Most canvass/nylon/polyester bags can just be dropped into the washing machine, which is a good practice to observe to keeps things clean and smelling nice.

Sneakers can be a bit more problematic, since putting them in the washing machine can alter their shape, ruin the binding holding them together and potentially damage the machine. you ever sneakers in the wash? It sounds like the bass drum from a marching band booming over and over. One option is to spray an alcohol solution inside and outside the shoes in order to kill bacteria. There are plenty of sources on the web that will explain how many parts of isopropyl alcohol to water you should use. Grab yourself a spray bottle from your local retailer and you’re off to the races. And since alcohol tends to evaporate quickly, your shoes are dry in no time.

Last but certainly not least, never skip a shower if you’ve worked out. Ever. That is all. Seriously, even if you feel you haven’t sweat much and can get away with it, you should still clean yourself up to prevent ALL of the issues I mentioned previously. If you’ve had a light workout and towelled off and returned to work, remember that others are more likely to smell what’s coming off of you than you will. Not the reputation you want and not something others deserve in their work environment. Food for thought… ☯️

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I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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