We work hard to take care of our bodies in so many different ways — from grueling workouts to eating right. While some aspects of our active lifestyle require a lot of effort, like commuting to the gym or cutting back on chips, there are several opportunities to be better toward our bodies hidden within your established daily routine.

For example, changing up your shower routine is an easy but often neglected way to look and feel better. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to see the benefits of changing your shower routine, however. It’s easy to adjust how you shower depending on what effects you’re looking for— from muscle relief to relaxation to better hair and skin.

While it may be tempting to have a quick rinse after a work-out, longer showers work best to help both your mind and muscles relax after an intense training session.

Showering tips for your post-workout routine

How you shower after a workout can do a lot more than get rid of sweat (and stench). You can actually use your post-workout shower to improve your physical performance. Hydrotherapy techniques like contrast showers help muscles to recover after a workout by increasing the body’s overall blood flow, helping to flush out lactic acid build up from tired muscles.

Showers can also help with muscle injuries or soreness. Cold showers help relieve sore muscles by decreasing local inflammation and providing a much needed energy boost after a tough workout. If you use athletic tape to help injured muscles, podiatrist Tim Dutra* says it’s okay to shower with the tape on so long as it’s not for extended periods and the tape is dried thoroughly after the shower. (Source: Essential Insights On Athletic Taping For Common Sports Injuries, Podiatry Today, 2015)

While it may be tempting to have a quick rinse after a work-out, longer showers work best to help both your mind and muscles relax after an intense training session. Luckily, there are smart products like Orbital Shower that allow you to take long, relaxing showers without the guilt of wasting water or energy. Read more about shower relaxation techniques here.

Showering before a workout?

While showering after working up a sweat makes sense, there is evidence that showering before a workout can act as a pre-warm up routine with many benefits. Warm showers can help raise your body temperature and loosen up stiff muscles by increasing your blood flow.

Furthermore, if you struggle with overheating or warm temperatures during your workout, “pre-cooling” with a cold shower before your workout has been shown to help “increase the body’s capacity for prolonged exercise at higher intensity levels.”(Source: Should You Shower Before a Workout?, GQ)

Bad showering habits to avoid

Showering in a hot water

While it may feel relaxing during the moment, showering in hot water should be avoided, as it strips the skin of its natural moisturizers and can cause you to itch. Too hot shower can increase your blood pressure, too. If you have problems with high blood pressure, taking a shower that’s too hot can make these conditions worse.

Choose your shower products wisely

If you shower frequently, find a way to help rehydrate your hair and skin through products that minimize any drying effects. For example, you should avoid using shampoos containing sulfates and parabens* if you have dry or brittle hair and those with sensitive skin should look for mild, non-abrasive, fragrance-free soaps. Adding cold water into your shower routine can also help lock in moisture to prevent hair breakage and temporarily tighten skin pores, leaving your face less red and puffy. (Source: Four Harmful Ingredients to Avoid in Your Hair Products, Independent, 2018)

Don’t shower in contact lenses

If you wear contact lenses, it’s extremely important not to shower in them. Microbes naturally found in water can be easily absorbed into the matrix of contact lenses, which can potentially cause eye infections that could cost you your vision. If you wear daily lenses, place them in an appropriate sterilized solution (never tap water!) while you shower before or after a workout and simply put them back in afterwards.

Choose the right shower for your active lifestyle

At the end of the day, your shower routine has as big an impact on your body as any other part of your workout or active lifestyle routines. Making the most of your shower routine depends a lot on the quality of the shower itself.

Smart shower solutions like Orbital Shower allow for full control of your shower experience through features like precise temperature control that help you avoid hot temperatures that can dry out your skin or cold temperatures to help cool you down before a long, hot run. The best part is that you can enjoy the benefits of your shower routine without the guilt of wasting water, since Orbital Shower saves more water the longer you use it.