Hygiene, in its regular context, is basically just a set of tasks that you do routinely in order to keep yourself as clean as necessary, or as often as you can. Though we do these routinely, everyone has their own regimen and different methods of execution for it as we work to weave it into the lifestyles we’ve chosen to live. For most people, taking a simple hygiene routine suffices. However, for some of us who are more active, like runners, we tend to take an extra measure or two. And we trouble ourselves with doing this because hygiene is plainly and simply put; important.
Because putting in the extra work into your hygienic routine makes, what may as well be, the difference between you and the person next to you who everyone runs away from and avoid at the starting line, because of the noxious wind that blows off from them. And though that might not count for points in the area of performance, it sure does count for a lot in terms of the social environment that embodies the fitness community. Not to mention, teaching yourself to stick to a hygiene routine actually teaches you a lot about discipline as well. Don’t skip steps in the process, because you know what they say; if you can’t accomplish the small things, then how can you expect to accomplish the big things? To get all of you runners started with taking on better hygienic practices, here are a few essential habits to take note of before you go on your next run:
Keep your Nails Short
This counts for both hands and feet. The space under your nail is a great place for dirt and bacteria to build up. And while you won’t necessarily go chewing on your finger and toenails, keeping your fingernails short look much cleaner than long, dirt-filled ones. Keeping nails short for your toes is especially important, because with your feet trapped in running shoes most of the time, in-grown toenails will not be uncommon, and it might make running painful.
Loose powder is a great hygiene product to use to keep specific areas dry. And for runners, the longer we stay dry, the less chafing, ergo, better for us. An additional benefit to powdering up before a run is that by squeezing a few of it into your shoe, it helps keep the insole dry. Though your feet will sweat a lot when you run, the powder will help keep the inside of it dry, plus prevent the development of bad odors for a longer period of time.
Yes, we mean the hair. But not the bunch on your head. Be it a man or a woman, if you’re not a fan of shaving off completely any excess hair in your armpits, or groin, at least keep them short, as sweat tends to cling to hair follicles. And what is always a good formula for bacterial growth? Wet and dark areas. Bacterial growth in these areas can cause unpleasant breakouts, rashes, and other such skin irritations if you neglect to keep them clean. Skin problems that are much easier to avoid altogether, compared to the bother of treating them.
Many of you are early morning runners. And thus, will opt to postpone your showers until after your run, because that would make more sense. Totally valid if you’re pertaining to a complete shower. However, just because you literally just got up from the bed, doesn’t mean you can skip the short shower. Make sure to at least lightly soap yourself off to get rid of excess oils that your skin produced overnight. When that sweat mixes with the oil in your pores, it could spell disaster for your skin.
And I don’t think I have to tell you that showering completely after a run is also important too, right? You wouldn’t want all that dust and smoke that clung to you during your run sticking to you the whole day.
Dab on some Anti-Perspirant
Your finishing touch to stay cool and keeping sweat away before your run should be a good anti-perspirant and deodorant. It might seem like such a small thing to stress, but trust us when we say it’s crucial. Amid a tight crowd of runners eager to start the race, make sure you show up at that starting line smelling fresh and clean. Else risk some awkward side-glances and people covertly pointing at you as the source of an unpleasant smell in the crowd. On top of risking embarrassment, your armpits are also an area which is prone to chafing when there’s sweat.
A big part of training day-in and day-out is the discipline and effort we meticulously put in everything we do to achieve the results we’re aiming for. And sometimes, though we don’t realize it, the small things like what we do on the daily (like grooming ourselves and keeping clean) are what contribute the most to reaching our goals. With all that said, we hope that we were able to stress to you guys the importance of establishing and maintaining good hygiene habits.