There are a few obvious reasons to change out of sweaty clothes and most likely the first which comes to mind is there are other people around, the smell will offend them, and the continued shirk of reason number one can leave a person friendless at some point. With that said, there are several good health reasons to get those clothes and yourself into some warm sudsy water right away.
That salty discharge is water, and bacteria-filled water can play havoc with skin. The friction of workout wear against the skin is bad enough, but stewing warm skin and water together is like a hot tub party for fungus, bacteria, and germs which will then leave your skin irritated, itchy, and angry at you for allowing this.
You may have wondered why you got that nasty sunburn on your shoulders when you were wearing a short-sleeved workout shirt at the beach last summer. If you were sweating, and you likely were, the perspiration actually removed the sun shading quality of the shirt, leaving your shoulders unprotected and defenseless.
The whole reason our body sweats is to cool off. Our bodies are their own HVAC system, and sweating when it’s hot, or shivering when it’s cold is our nervous system trying to keep us comfortable, and to keep the immune system from catching a cold.
When wearing sweaty workout clothes, everything feels cooler because our body temperature goes down. So entering air conditioning at home or a coffee shop is keeping our immune system from doing its job.
The dirt and grime from the air, workout equipment, and the like mixes with your sweat and sits on the skin, eventually clogging up pores under those murky pools. When left long enough, the breakout will spread wherever that sweaty mud bath was sitting. Because sweaty clothes are also warm, the bacteria gets a boost of growth right away.
There is nothing fungus loves more than sweaty warmth, without a lot of pesky oxygen to deter its determined growth. Sweaty workout clothes, when not removed promptly, sustain a wonderful harbor for any kind of fungus, which can manifest as ringworm, athlete’s foot, vaginal yeast infections and other skin yeast infections.
Chafing, or the more memorable, “chub rub,” occurs because the skin lying beneath the dirty, wet workout clothes becomes soft with moisture and can only take so much of synthetic lycra or other material rubbing it back and forth every time you move. This can be very painful and take weeks to heal.
Staphylococcus aureus is a nasty little bacteria known for causing severe illness in respiratory systems, causes food poisoning, and in extreme cases can enter the bloodstream causing death.
This rascal doesn’t need oxygen to grow and can be detected in warm areas with water on a consistent basis. Having it on the skin is not unusual, but leaving it there under your sweaty workout clothes can cause skin lesions which will require medical attention.
If you are the type who works out daily, first of all, congratulations. Everyone certainly greatly admires your dedication. Take the dedication to your body one step further. Make it a habit when your workout is over, no matter how tempting that couch might be, to never stop until your dirty sweaty workout clothes are safely removed from your vulnerable body and put where they belong.