Why Wearing Your Workout Clothes All Day Is A Mistake

We've all been there: You wake up and feel as excited as ever to put on that adorable workout outfit you saw on TikTok that you just had to buy for yourself last week. You grab your new set in all its pastel-hued, stretchy, spandex glory, and you feel absolutely invincible as soon as you've put the outfit on. Today's workout outfits aren't anywhere near what they used to be. Many of us have said goodbye to loose gym shorts and ratty T-shirts in favor of sets featuring cutouts, ruffles, lace-up details, and gorgeous prints. In fact, many of us prefer to buy new exercise outfits over "regular" clothes, especially those of us who hit the gym, yoga, or pilates every day.

With workout sets stepping up their game, it's no wonder so many of us are tempted to take that gym outfit and wear it out for a stroll (via Cosmopolitan). It's tempting to leave your yoga class feeling cute — albeit a little sweaty — in your leggings and crop top to meet a friend for coffee. You may go from coffee to running errands on your way home, like heading to the grocery store, or you might be going straight to work, class, or the library. This is especially true if you don't feel like you sweat profusely during your low-impact workout. However, you should avoid wearing your gym clothes the entire day — and the reasons may surprise you.

Keeping on sweaty workout clothes may make you sick

One of the most important things in life is maintaining good health however you can. So, no matter how adorable your tie-dye workout outfit is, it's not worth developing full-body chills the next day. While you may never have thought that keeping your exercise clothes on all day could make you sick, there's actually a significant reason why it can. With a busy life that surely includes all kinds of work commitments, parent-teacher conferences, and even just brunch with your BFFs, none of us are willing to spare a few days out sick just to keep our cute workout outfit on!

When you leave the gym after an intense workout that included everything from cardio to weights, it's normal to feel sweaty. In fact, your clothes might feel sweaty as well, making you feel colder than usual when you brave the wintry, frigid temperatures outside. While Dr. Rhonda Sharp, MD, PPG explained to Park View that "colds and flu are caused by viruses," not being cold or wet, keeping your sweaty gym clothes on in the lower temperatures may lead to getting sick. As Dr. Rose Wenrich, MD, PPG told the outlet, "if your immune system is not strong, getting a chill" from being in contact with something wet "could stress the immune system for those at risk, making one more prone to illness." In short, keeping sweaty gym clothes on may be a health hazard, so try to avoid it.

Keeping leggings on all day after a workout can cause bacteria to build up

Another reason why keeping workout clothes on all day is essentially a downright sin? Well, sweaty leggings are a breeding ground for all kinds of fungi and bacteria, and can lead to several types of infections that you want to avoid at all costs. Yes, keeping your gym outfit on after an intense exercise routine may mean you smell less-than-fresh as you run errands, but that's the least of your worries.

According to Insider, keeping your exercise clothes on all day is something you never want to do, especially when thinking of your health. For one, a used gym outfit can trap bacteria on the skin, which may even lead to your pores becoming clogged. In a way, keeping your exercise clothes on can lead to body acne like the dreaded "bacne," as well as pimples on your chest — so, a quick shower and a change of clothes is your best bet.

Moreover, damp leggings or shorts can lead to jock itch, a fungal infection around the crotch and buttocks area. Jock itch is notoriously irritating, and if contracted, should be treated with an antifungal cream (per Insider). That being said, it's easy to avoid with a quick shower. Similarly, sweaty workout wear can lead to yeast infections, especially if wearing spandex instead of breathable cotton. As another kind of fungal infection, yeast infections are many times unavoidable, but switching out your gym clothes immediately after use can help.

Avoid leaving exercise clothes on all day if you want them to last longer

As if possible bacterial and fungal infections weren't enough, as well as the risk of acne and even getting sick, there's another risk factor attached to keeping your workout clothes on for way too long. No, it has nothing to do with your health, which is a relief, but it still can put a damper on your day-to-day life. If you really love your exercise sets in every color of the rainbow and want to give them a longer than average shelf life, we suggest you quickly remove them after your workouts.

If you think about it, workouts usually last anywhere from half an hour to about two hours, so exercise clothing is usually worn for shorter periods of time than other pieces, such as jeans or your favorite leather jacket. While you've had your vintage, fringed denim jacket since high school, can you think of leggings that have ever lasted that long?

In the spirit of being stretchy, breathable, and perfect for movement, activewear is typically thin and slightly delicate. While good quality workout sets will surely last, reserving them for just the gym or pilates classes will extend their life considerably. You'll know it's time for you to replace your workout clothes when you notice that the clothing is becoming threadbare, if there's a smell you can't get out of them, or if your sports bra isn't as supportive as it used to be (per Women's Health).

Reserve leggings just for workouts to increase motivation

If you're a fashion lover, you'll probably understand the appeal of the adorable workout wear that's popped up in the last few years. Gone are the days of just reaching for your favorite woven Nike gym shorts with that nice, stretchy waistband, or simply recycling old T-shirts by transferring them to your exercise clothes drawer. Tons of brands like Alo Yoga, Beyond Yoga, and Lululemon have changed the game when it comes to activewear. This has given us much more motivation to actually get our butts to the gym (pun intended!).

Yes, we know that we should actually enjoy our workouts, but when motivation is lacking, slipping on that so-sweet pink checkerboard spandex workout set makes it easier to head out the door and drive to the gym (per Shape). That's why it is crucial to make sure you reserve your adorable exercise-wear for just the gym, yoga, or barre. If you use cute activewear as a motivating factor for heading to your workouts, wearing your sets every day can make them lose their appeal fast. While many of us are sure to wear our leggings to grocery store runs sometimes, avoiding it can make your sets feel more special — and make the gym more enjoyable, too.