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Out With The Old: Refreshing Your Athletic Gear

When to refresh and replace your athletic gear to stay fresh and healthy
By Gaurav Vajaria, DPM, FACFAS

Whether you are hitting the pavement on a long distance run, peddling down the streets or shifting into warrior pose at your neighborhood yoga studio, keeping your athletic gear in tip-top shape is essential.

Replacing key items that are showing signs of wear and tear promotes good health and hygiene. We recommend assessing the state of your gear every six to eight months, however, each piece serves a different function and will have varying life-spans.

Check out our guide to keeping your athletic gear fresh and up-to-date. 

Sports Bras:

Proper Care and/or When to Replace

  • Wash after each use
  • Replace every 6 to 12 months

Signs of Wear & Tear:

  • Less support
  • Worn out elastic
  • Faded fabric or a change in shape

Health Impacts

  • Prevents growth and buildup of bacteria
  • Continues to provide support when needed

Running Shoes:

Proper Care and/or When to Replace

  • Replace 300 to 500 miles after your first run (or when you notice signs of wear & tear)
  • Avid Runners (run >31 miles per week): replace every few months
  • Leisure Runners (run <10 miles per week): replace every 10 months

Signs of Wear & Tear

  • Worn out rubber tread and/or wrinkled or cracked midsole
  • Uneven shoe with worn down heel and/or outer sole
  • Developing blisters even though you have already broken the shoes in

Health Impacts

  • Prevents injury and increased soreness
  • Avoids discomfort
  • Improves overall performance

Compression Gear:

Proper Care and/or When to Replace

  • Wash properly and regularly after workouts
  • Wash by hand or machine, using cold water and a mild soap
  • Place garments in a mesh laundry bag for extra protection during wash cycles
  • Air dry

Signs of Wear & Tear

  • Lost elasticity
  • Chafing
  • Discoloration

Health Impacts

  • Extends life-span of garments
  • Prevents growth and buildup of bacteria
  • Avoids unwanted odors

Yoga Mats:

Proper Care and/or When to Replace

  • Invest in your own yoga mat (as opposed to renting a communal mat)
  • Replace every 6 to 12 months
  • Wipe down with mat cleaning products or with a mixture of white vinegar, water and essential oils

Signs of Wear & Tear:

  • Thickness of the mat is uneven and/or sections are compressed
  • Mat is starting to fall apart or begins to develop “bald spots”
  • No longer sticky
  • Your joints hurt or you struggle to hold balance poses
  • Unwanted odors

 Health Impacts

  • Avoids the growth and spread of bacteria, germs, viruses and fungi
  • Avoids unwanted odors

Water Bottles

Proper Care and/or When to Replace

  • Clean & Disinfect Daily
  • Fill your bottle one-fifth of the way with white vinegar, allowing it to sit in the bottle for about 10 minutes
  • Clean both the top and the bottle with hot water and soap, then rinse with hot water until the scent of the vinegar has disappeared
  • Scrub away any remaining film
  • Depending on the type of water bottle, it may be dishwasher safe

Signs of Wear & Tear

  • The bottle has an odor you cannot get rid of
  • There is buildup in the lid or mouthpiece
  • The plastic on the bottle has started to crack

Health Impacts

  • Keeps germs and bacteria at bay

Bike Helmets

Proper Care and/or When to Replace

  • Replace immediately if damaged in a crash or other event
  • In the absence of damage, replace every three years or every other year if you are a consistent rider

Signs of Wear & Tear

  • Cracks or abrasions in the outer shell
  • Discoloration
  • Cracks or aging in the styrofoam lining
  • Straps or buckles no longer work as they should
  • Wobbly outer shell and rear stabilizer

Health Impacts

  • Maintains the integrity and protective measures of the helmet
  • Improves your safety

Moisture Wicking Gear

Proper Care and/or When to Replace

  • Wash properly and regularly after workouts
  • After your workout, remove your clothing and rinse with cold water
  • Wash moisture wicking gear separate from other clothing
  • Turn your clothes inside out before putting in the washer
  • Use a gentle detergent and no fabric softener
  • Only use cold water when washing moisture wicking gear, as hot water can damage wicking properties, and do not put in the dryer

Signs of Wear & Tear

  • Decline in wicking properties (no longer keeping your body cool and dry)
  • Loss of shape and/or comfort

Health Impacts

  • Extends garment life-span
  • Maintains wicking properties
  • Prevents buildup of mold and bacteria
  • Avoids unwanted odors

Swimsuits

Proper Care and/or When to Replace

  • Replace every six months
  • Rinse and wash after each use

Signs of Wear & Tear

  • Suit is stretched out and/or has lost proper support
  • Discoloration and/or unpleasant odor despite washing it

Health Impacts

  • Prevents discoloration and the breaking down of fabric
  • Improves overall fit and shape of suit
  • Avoids unwanted odors

Foam Roller

Proper Care and/or When to Replace

  • Before use, rinse your foam roller with warm water
  • After use, wipe down with a damp cloth and a mild soap and water mixture
  • Store flat and away from sunlight

Signs of Wear & Tear

  • Indents that do not recover
  • Unwanted odors

Health Impacts

  • Avoids unwanted odors
  • Prevents sweat from being absorbed by foam roller
  • Extends life span of roller

While your athletic gear takes care of all the small details, from absorbing sweat to cushioning joints, it is up to you to replace essentials when the time is right. Taking the time to refresh and replace your gear when needed will keep you safe as you exercise.

 

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Topics and Subtopics: Fitness & Exercise & General Health

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