Bodywork

Q:

Do I Need to Shower After My Lunchtime Workout?

I like to work out during my lunch break, but I just switched jobs and my new office building doesn’t have showers. How important is it that I shower after working out?

Is that shower a good idea?     Photo: Mikhail hoboton Popov/Shutterstock

A:We’re guessing you’re more concerned about your health than your coworkers’ olfactory senses, so we’ll address the issue of cleanliness.

The main issue here is sweat, or rather how sweat soaks your clothes. “Skin can break down by wearing moist socks or undergarments, so you put yourself at risk for bacterial and fungal infections,” says Dr. Andrew Getzin, clinical director of the Cayuga Medical Center Sports Medicine and Athletic Performance in Ithaca, New York. Staph bacteria and the fungus that causes athlete’s foot and jock itch, for example, can more easily infect broken skin.

The solution (which we’re certain you do anyway because you’re still employed): change out of your workout clothes as quickly as possible. That post-workout shower that most Americans consider a rite isn’t absolutely necessary, since your sweaty clothes are what you should fear most, not your un-rinsed skin. And just to prove that you aren’t the only dedicated athlete suffering from Showerless Office Syndrome, companies including Nathan and Action Wipes make products to help you clean up post workout without water. (Alternatively, you can use generic baby wipes to freshen up after a sweat session.)

“Get in a workout, wipe down, change your clothes, put some deodorant on, and you’re good to go,” Getzin says. From a health standpoint, you’re probably fine foregoing the shower. 

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