There's no denying working out is great for your health, but if you aren't careful, some of these common bad exercise habits could actually be the reason you get sick.
1. Wearing workout gear all day
Ok, so you went to the gym 4 hours ago, isn't it time for a shower? Regardless of how comfortable athletic gear is, wearing damp clothing for an extended period of time is bad for your health. The best practice is to shower immediately after you finish working out to reduce the risk of acne and yeast infections.
2. Wiping your face with your hand
By touching your face after touching exercise equipment, all you're doing is transferring other people's germs to your pores. Try to keep your hands away from your face mid-workout and use a Sports Towel to wipe away sweat instead.
3. Going barefoot in a public shower / sauna
Forgot your flip-flops? You may be exposing yourself to fungal infections and the endless amount of germs that thrive in damp areas. Flip-flops will limit the risk by providing a barrier between you and the shower room floor. If worst comes to worst, step out of the shower and onto a towel to dry your feet immediately.
4. Leaving sports towels in your bag
You're busy, we get it, but one of the cardinal sins of working out is leaving your dirty sports towel in your bag after a visit to the gym. Make sure it goes into the wash as soon as possible to stop the growth of bacteria (and smell!). Try taking a plastic bag along with you to store dirty clothes and towels in so it's easy to dump them straight into the laundry when you get home.
5. Waiting to wash your face
Bacteria can build up in your pores during your workout, and if you don't remember to give your face a quick was wash after finishing up your exercise, this bacteria can lead to inflammation and acne. Take cleanser with you to the gym so you can wash your face quickly, even if you're not showering there.
6. Rolling up (and leaving) your yoga mat
The simple rules of hygiene apply here. You wouldn't ball-up sweaty athletic gear and leave it until the next week, so why would you roll up a yoga mat without giving it a chance to air out and dry? Moisture, darkness and warmth are bacteria's best friends, and it breeds in these conditions quickly. It can cause acne and lead to other skin conditions like athlete's food and ringworm (shudder). Even if you don't share your mat with anyone else, a rarely cleaned yoga mat can cause all kinds of infections if bacteria is left to fester for days on end.
7. Using one towel for everything
If you're using one towel to wipe down the gym machines and for your body, STOP! Keep these things separate so you're not drying yourself with a germ-infested towel. A handy tip is to use a different coloured microfibre Sports Towel to distinguish between the two.
8. Re-using a plastic bottle
Plastic water bottles can tend to hold bacteria, so to avoid the risk, it's best to use metal. These durable bottles can be washed in hot, soapy water and identified quickly, so it's less likely that someone else will walk off with your bottle.
Are you guilty of any of these bad workout habits?