There are great benefits to being old...1) you got to be 'old'. Better still, being old and athletic has many benefits. But nobody wants to smell, well...'old'. As an athlete, body odor is something that you have to handle on a daily basis. Whether you are running a marathon or working out at the gym, body odor is an unfortunate aspect of any athlete’s routine. However, body odor can be both managed and prevented. By understanding the causes of body odor and taking steps to eliminate it, you can ensure that you are never stuck smelling like an old athlete again.
What is Body Odor?
Did you know that sweat has no odor? Body odor is actually caused by bacteria, which feeds off of the sweat you build up during athletic activity. Your body creates two different types of sweat: eccrine and apocrine. While eccrine sweat does not lead to body odor, apocrine sweat is the type of sweat that bacteria feed off of, leading to a serious stench. On your feet in particular, about 10-15% of people host the Micrococcus sedentarius bacteria, which produces volatile sulfur compounds. These volatile sulfur compounds lead to the rotten egg smell that many athletes suffer from.
The Causes of Body Odor
There are many different reasons why your body odor may be worse than someone else’s. Along with sweat, many athletes suffer from bad body odor due to poor hygiene. If you don’t bathe or wash your clothes often enough, bacteria will remain on your body and unpleasant odors will be retained by your clothing. Diet can also contribute to body odor; many foods such as curry and garlic are very strong in smell, and other substances such as caffeine can increase your perspiration levels. Many health problems also contribute to body odor. Finally, men often face worse body odor than women due to higher testosterone levels.
Improving Your Scent
- Keep It Clean: The simplest way to prevent body odor is to bathe and wash your clothes regularly. Use the shower instead of the bathtub to eliminate more bacteria from your body.
- Eat Right: Diet is critical to preventing body odor. Avoid caffeine and sugar, which trigger your apocrine sweat glands, and drink more fluids to active your eccrine sweat glands. You can also eat parsley, celery, limes, and herbs such as thyme, sage, lavender, oregano, and others to reduce body odor.
- Wear Breathable Fabrics: By wearing breathable fabrics, particularly on your feet, you can reduce sweat and body odor. The best fabrics include cotton and special knits designed for athletic wear.
- Use Boric Acid: Boric acid can be extremely helpful in reducing body odor because it slows down the spread of bacteria. Apply it after you bathe in areas where your body odor is worst.
The Benefits of Activity Outweigh the Stench
In general, people become less physically active as they get older. Nearly 40 percent of people over the age of 55 report no leisure-time physical activity. The older people become, the more they need regular exercise. It helps prevent bone loss (reducing the risk of fractures) and reduces the risk of dozens of diseases associated with aging. It also increases muscle strength and may improve balance and coordination, which can reduce the likelihood of falling. It also increases the ability for basic living, making it easier to carry grocery bags, get up from a chair and take care of household chores. Being physically active is a real key in maintaining quality of life and independence.
Welcome to the fold. When you know better, you do better.