Whether you’re a daily diver or a weekend runner, showering after exercise should be an essential part of your workout.
Rather than simply keeping you clean, however, a post-workout shower can offer additional benefits that include enhanced recovery and immunity, reduced stress and even weight loss.
Mira Showers explains how to maximise your workout in the changing room:
First and foremost, a post workout shower is essential in terms of hygiene. The sweat that you produce whilst exercising might be a sign of a good session, but people would prefer to hear about it rather than smell it. Showering is especially important if you play sports where you might have contact with another person – sweat will mix with small cuts and abrasions and need to be cleaned as soon as possible to prevent infection. For swimmers this is equally important as the chlorine in swimming pools will damage your hair and skin if you simply towel off after getting out.
Your shower can help aid recovery after a hard session. Aching muscles the day after a hard exercising session – known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) – can be prevented by having an ice-cold shower and holding the showerhead directly over the muscles you’ve been working. Elite athletes will use an ice-bath, but putting your shower on the coldest setting is a quicker and easier alternative. If you exercise daily or more than once a day this is especially important as you can start your next session without being impeded by DOMS, allowing you to maintain the intensity of the previous session.
If you are still feeling a little ‘tight’ in the morning, a hot shower can help to increase blood flow to the muscles allowing them to relax and ease the tension.
Everyone knows that exercise is integral to healthy weight loss, but did you know that a cold shower afterwards can aid weight loss as well? To maintain your body temperature during a cold shower, your metabolism can increase by up to 550% of its resting level – meaning that you burn more calories just to stay warm. If a freezing cold shower is too uncomfortable, even low levels of cold can increase the energy demands of your body and increase muscle tone.
Health and mood
Some sports actively encourage showering as an integral part of their training regime. The Tae Kwando moral code for example explains that cold showers (known as naengsoo machal) ‘can help students build pride and tenacity’. As the saying goes – healthy mind, healthy body: exposure to cold water has also shown to increase the body’s supply of a powerful antioxidant called glutathione which boosts the immune system.