Why You Should Wait 20 Minutes Before Your Post-Workout Shower

There's nothing that feels quite as good as stripping off your sweaty clothes and jumping into the shower after a workout, though getting a post-workout snack is probably a close second! Your post-workout shower is important beyond just how good it feels to be clean after you've been sweating it up. If you frequently skip a shower (or bath) after you exercise, you can end up with sweat-induced acne. There's also the potential for a fungus infection from wearing a sweaty sports bra too long and too often. And, well, if nothing else, you'll probably be pretty stinky.


So that after-exercise shower is definitely important — there's even a right way to take a shower, according to science. But as quickly and as much as you may want to get clean, you shouldn't jump in the shower right after you're done working out. There's a good reason to slow down a bit and give yourself about a 20-minute gap between finishing your exercise and taking a shower.

You could end up sweaty after taking a shower if you don't wait

If you hit the shower as quickly as you can, you're doing your body a disservice and you could end up sweaty even after your shower. Health and fitness coach Ariel Belgrave posted on Instagram about the potential misconception that it's okay to immediately jump into the shower after a workout. You want to give your body time to adjust from exercising to not exercising.


Brian Carson, Ph.D. in physiology, told Stylist, "it takes time post-exercise for our metabolism to return to its normal rate and therefore, our body still has the potential for overheating. This is why sweating continues after exercise, sometimes long into the recovery from our session." As you wait to get yourself cleaned up, Belgrave recommends light stretching and getting some water to help bring your body temperature and heart rate back down gradually and naturally. That way when you do hit the showers, you're less likely to start sweating as you go about the rest of your day.

Let your body cool down naturally after a workout

Taking a break between the end of your workout and your shower gives you a chance to cool down, since, just as you shouldn't start a workout warming up, you shouldn't just stop exercising without a cool down. If you immediately stop exercising, particularly if you've been working out hard, you risk feeling dizzy and even fainting. That's definitely not what anyone wants happening, particularly in the shower. And bonus! If you take the time to stretch after your workout when your muscles are warmed up, you can increase your flexibility.


You might think that if you brave a cold shower after your workout, you could skip the cool-down stretching, but that's not really the case. Letting your body more naturally cool off instead of shocking your system by jumping into a cold shower will let your body recover better. That isn't to say that a cold shower doesn't have its benefits. Cold showers can really change your life. They can help you build your mental fortitude, and the cold water can help cortisol levels too. Just make sure you hold off on them until you've had a post-workout break.