Shower Before Or After Workout? The Best Answer

Everyone knows there’s nothing better than a quick shower and change of clothes after working out. There’s something primal and satisfying about it. But did you know there’s solid science and benefits to justify showering before your workout instead?

Yeah, I was as surprised as you are. It turns out the time you shower can seriously affect your workout and performance in the long run. Of course, you might feel that a shower after exercise is mandatory because of all the sweat. So what do you do? Shower before or after exercise? This article will help you figure out what’s right for you.

Should You Shower Before Your Workout?

The act of using water to relax is known as hydrotherapy. It used to be an old and ancient remedy for whatever problems you had, from being sore to bad vibes.

To start, let’s look at the positive effects that happen when you shower before exercise.

1. Increased alertness.

A cold shower before exercise can be useful for spiking up your oxygen intake. Cold showers are exhilarating and can set you up for a great and productive workout.

If you’re like most people, you don’t take performance enhancers. That means you need all the help you can get to motivate yourself and deliver a strong performance during exercise.

Cold water is a simple way to increase adrenaline and squeeze out more reps. The better the quality of your workouts, the more muscle you’ll gain and the more fat you’ll burn in the long run.

2. Better endurance.

Studies show that cooling your body before exercise can improve your exercise capacity and endurance levels[1].

This is known as pre-cooling your body. This is an especially powerful tool to help you deal with hot weather.

After exposing your body to a cold bath, you have increased levels which gives you a powerful endurance effect for about 40 minutes after exercise.

3. Reduced chances of problems.

Let’s forget cold showers and look at warm showers for a second. Warm showers are excellent at reducing tension. A shower can help you to relax

4. More focus.

Most people are walking around with high levels of stress because they are busy.

A quick and relaxing warm shower before exercise can reduce your stress level. This puts you in the right condition to exercise so you get the most benefits.

Should You Shower After Your Workout?

Exercise is sweaty. So of course it’s common to shower after workouts. But are there any other benefits?

1. Effective active recovery.

Studies show that cold water baths are effective at calming your body after training[2]. Even something like 10 minutes of cardio can create serious levels of pressure. Exercising puts stress on your body. This is a burden that takes energy away from other things you could be doing. A simple cold water bath after exercise can help fight this.

2. Reduced chances of bad smells.

Exercise doesn’t just make you sweaty. It builds up bacteria and debris on your skin. Sure, this makes for bad body odor. But it’s also a playground for harmful bacteria. The worst spots on your body happen to be your feet, groin, and armpits.

A shower after exercise removes bad bacteria from your body and keeps you clean.

3. Better looking

Hot showers improve blood circulation in your body. This gives your tired muscles oxygen they need to recover. But it’s also a great way to help your skin. The temperature of your shower has to be just right for this. If your shower is too hot, you end up losing moisture in your skin instead.

4. Better recovery.

Taking a cold shower after a workout can help your heart relax. Studies show that if you work out in hot temperatures, a cold shower can reduce your stress and boost your recovery abilities.

Of course, this isn’t a substitute for stretching and cooling down, but the effects aren’t insignificant.

Don’t forget to remove your watch if it can’t handle water. Some Apple watches can be worn under the shower, as discussed here.

Conclusion

There’s a surprising amount of science behind something as simple as showering before or after your workouts. At the end of the day, you have to decide what works for you. Some people shower before and after their workout whereas other people just shower before or after the workout. It also depends on how intense your workout was. If you didn’t break a sweat, you might feel that it is not worth taking a shower and that washing yourself will do. It is a great idea to wash yourself anyway. Wearing special clothes to work out is also interesting as you don’t want to wear smelly clothes. Some gyms also have requirements and they might demand that you take a shower afterward. The same is true for some sports clubs, such as volleyball clubs. The trainer will contact you if you don’t shower after training or match.

Showering before exercise might end up seriously improving your fitness. So it’s worth a try in the long run, at least.

If you’ve showered after exercise all your life, it might be worth it to try showering before to see what difference it makes. Pre-cooling your body has noticeable effects. Especially if you live in a hot region.

Different temperatures and timings have different effects on your body. Experiment to see what works best for you. Remember to be gradual in the changes you introduce so you don’t shock your system.

If you plan to shower after exercise, it’s worth noting that there’s an optimal time to do this. 20 minutes after exercise is what gives the most benefit for most people.

Sources:

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4049052/

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27704555/