Skin Protection During Exercise
Exercise has a host of mental and physical health benefits. But what you may not know is that it can cause problems for your skin, especially if you are exercising in harsh environments or difficult climatic conditions, which is more than likely up in the mountains.
Your skin acts as a barrier between the environment and your body, also playing an important aesthetic role.
If you exercise on a regular basis this is great news for your body and mind, but it might not be so positive for your skin.
Thankfully, we provide some tips below help you protect your skin during and after exercise.
Exercising outdoors can be harmful for your skin, especially if it is very cold or very hot or if you are at altitude or in a harsh environment.
It is best to do some research before taking up a new sport that involves training or competing outdoors in order to find out potential problems for your skin and how you can protect yourself.
If you are hiking in the sun take care to cover your skin; wear a sun hat and sunglasses to protect your skin, hair and eyes and wear high factor sun cream.
Also, stick to light clothing and drink plenty of water.
If you are exercising in snow, ice, forceful rain or extreme cold, cover your face as much as possible and wear warm clothing that allows you to breathe at the same time.
Also, use plenty of moisturiser when you have finished exercising to protect, nourish and hydrate your skin.
If you are participating in an event that involves hiking for a long time, take care to protect the skin on your feet.
Blisters are a common problem for athletes, especially long-distance mountaineers, and they can make progress difficult.
It is worth investing in a good pair of running shoes and wearing them in before an event.
It can also be beneficial to wear specially-designed socks and bandaging or dressings around your feet to prevent friction. Make sure that your shoes fit well and provide proper support for your feet and ankles.
This is very popular in the winter months, and rightly so, but there are risks associated with exercising indoors.
Many indoor activities involve groups or being close to others and sharing gym or climbing equipment.
But this does carry a risk of infection.
If you have particularly sensitive skin or you are prone to skin conditions, it is wise to think about bringing your own toiletries and ensuring that you clean equipment or machines before and after using them. We’re not saying bring a full mop and bucket and clean the whole place, even a simple towel will do.
Common problems that result from indoor exercise include:
- Athlete’s foot
- Flu (influenza)
- Verrucas and warts
Most indoor sports facilities have policies and protocols in place to prevent the spread of infection and to promote good health.
For example, if you have a verruca you will be asked to wear a protective sock when using shared facilities.
It is always advisable to wash after exercise, which is why gyms and leisure centres provide showers.
A quick wash after playing sport or hitting the gym will help to keep you smelling and looking fresh, as well as reducing the risk of infections and illnesses.
One of the most important factors for your skin is hydration.
When you exercise you lose water from the body in the form of sweat and you need to replace this.
Drink water as you go and after you have finished and use moisturiser once you have showered to leave your skin looking bright and feeling soft and smooth.