If you work out regularly, you probably sweat a lot too. And that's good because sweating is good for you! Sweat is your body’s natural way of regulating temperature, and it also opens your pores, eliminates toxins, and boosts endorphin levels.
Still, sweating can also have a few not-so-pleasant side effects. While the act of sweating itself is good for you, spending prolonged amounts of time in your sweaty clothing is not. One negative repercussion of lounging around in your dirty clothes is more obvious than others—the smell! That's not the only reason why you should quickly change out of your sweaty clothes after a workout.
Sitting around in sweaty workout clothes is one of the leading causes of yeast infections. The tight, restrictive nature of the majority of exercise clothing creates an environment that promotes the growth of yeast. Add in moisture from sweat, and the chance of infection is at its highest. Bacteria thrive in warm, damp environments. Changing your clothes (and underwear) quickly can stop bacteria from traveling into your urinary tract, sparing you from a UTI. Feel free to lounge in your clean athleisure clothes all you want. But once your clothes are sweaty, get out of those things pronto.
One unfortunate yet exceptionally common side effect of spending time in tight, sweaty clothes is a fungal skin infection calledtinea versicolor. Tinea versicolor is characterized by the appearance of small, discolored spots on the skin which are typically lighter in color than the surrounding skin. If left untreated, the rash can spread and create blotches of discoloration. For the most part, the rash is only unpleasant because of its strange appearance, usually showing up on the chest, arms, and back. However, in serious cases, tinea versicolor can itch and burn.
Another skin-related issue caused by staying in sweaty clothes is body acne. Even if you aren’t prone to acne, the longer you stay in dirty clothing, the more acne-causing bacteria accumulates in your pores. If you don’t have time to shower after your workout, your skin will thank you for a simple rinse-off or change of clothing!
You may have heard that you can get sick if you don’t put on a coat when it’s cold outside. Hanging around in damp clothing after a workout increases your chance of catching a cold, as the combination of the moisture with your body’s attempt to cool itself post-workout leads to a drastic drop in temperature.
If you’re like me, you love your active-wear. No matter how much you like hanging around in your exercise clothes, however, it’s probably not worth the risk. Hop in that shower after your workout and change into a new pair of leggings, keeping yourself healthy and sparing the people around you from that post-workout stink.