You're getting some cardio in, relieving the stress of the day when you start feeling your sports bra rub against your skin, and that rub slowly turns into a dull burn. You decide to run through the irritation, when your thighs begin to give in to the rub and burn as well. All of the sudden, the relieving bout of cardio you planned is cut short, and you have to high tail it home to take off your sportswear and rub lotion all over your chafed areas.
This sort of bummer happens more often than not while exercising and it doesn't just affect you while performing cardio. I've personally experienced chafing from wearing strength training gloves. Really, any movement that you perform repetitiously in clothing puts you at risk for chafing, skin irritation, and blisters. For women, chafing and blisters typically occur at the bra line, inner thigh, underarm, feet and anywhere our skin can freely rub against our workout clothing. Rather than succumbing to the burn, here are some tips that will you protect your beautiful skin and help you complete your much needed workout.
1. Keep your skin as dry as possible by wearing sweat wicking workout clothing like Nike's Hyercool line. Skip cotton materials if you can, and go with synthetic materials that draw the moisture away from your body. Typically, workout clothing made of polyester and with mesh panels are your best bet.
2. Give your skin less opportunities to become irritated during your workout. Avoid tags and choose seamless collars on shirts, and sports bras. It's also important to note that for sports bras, finding the right fit is important, as a common cause of chafing and blistering is wearing clothing that doesn't fit properly.
3. Protect your skin with petroleum jelly or products made specifically to battle skin irritations like anti-chafing and anti-blistering balms by BodyGlide. Apply either to your skin to prevent irritation from rubbing. Since they're not water based they will not sweat off during your workout.
4. Always choose tighter fitting clothing over loose clothing when working out. Loose clothing gets caught up during exercise and can spur irritation, plus tighter fitting clothing that's also sweat wicking will keep you cool and unencumbered.
5. Stay hydrated to stimulate sweating. When sweat production stops, the drying crystals become crusty and can irritate your skin even more.
6. Wear shoes that fit properly. If you wear shoes that are too loose you can develop blisters on the balls of your feet and on your toes. On the flip side, shoes that fit too tightly are painful to run in and will also cause blistering and bunions. You will want to eliminate the friction in your shoes as well, so try the anti-blistering balm by BodyGlide or Bandaid's Friction Block Stick which is pretty popular in the running world.