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7 Common Habits You Might Not Know Can Lead To Athlete’s Foot

7 Common Habits You Might Not Know Can Lead To Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that usually appears as rashes between the toes. Scratching the infected skin and then touching other parts of your body can cause it to spread to the toenails,[1] hands and groin. It can affect anyone at any time, but it’s most commonly seen in athletes.

Medically termed tinea pedis, athlete’s foot isn’t a serious disease, but it’s not easy to cure unless you are consistent with your treatment, and continue to take precautions to prevent it from flaring up again. It is an annoying disease though, and the affected area may be itchy, scaly, dry, or blistered.[2]

Athlete’s foot is a contagious disease, and it can easily be passed from person to person. It is caused by fungus, and these microbes thrive in damp, warm, and dark places. This same fungus causes ringworm and jock itch. The common habits that cause this athlete’s foot are:

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1. Damp Feet

If your feet are not dry and clean, you may easily pick up the infection from a contaminated surface. Thoroughly wash your feet and gently dry them, especially between the toes. You can use talcum powder on your feet to help them stay dry.

2. From your Footwear

Repeatedly using the same shoes without cleaning, or not allowing the sweat and dampness inside to dry thoroughly are other contributors. Open-toed footwear allows the air to keep the feet dry, while closed footwear like sneakers hold the dampness in. Avoid wearing shoes that make your feet hot and damp. Wear roomy shoes made of natural materials like leather. It is advisable to change your shoes every couple of days to allow them to dry out between uses.

3. From your Socks

Sweaty, damp socks hold the moisture in and is one of the worst culprits behind athlete’s foot. Don’t reuse the same socks without washing and drying it well. Wear a fresh pair every day. Cotton socks are a better choice than synthetic ones, as they allow your feet to “breathe.”[3]

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4. Walking Barefoot in Contaminated Areas

Communal showers, locker rooms, and gyms are highly contaminated with disease, causing microbes, and walking barefoot in these areas can easily cause athlete’s foot.

5. Sharing Contaminated Items

As mentioned earlier, athlete’s foot is highly contagious. A person may scratch the affected area and then transfer the microbes to his personal belongings. So if you share a towel, socks, or shoes, you may end up with the same problem. Ensure that your own towels are washed regularly, and don’t share them with anyone in a communal setting, especially locker rooms.

6. A Weakened Immune System

These microbes are present almost everywhere, and if you have a weakened immune system, you will contract the disease much faster if you don’t take adequate precautions to keep your feet clean and dry at all times.[4] It is not advisable to use moisturizers between your toes, as the moisture helps the fungi multiply.

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7. Other Health Conditions

Some health conditions, like diabetes, make a person more prone to contracting these kinds of diseases. So, just same as a person with a weakened immune system, people with such health conditions should also take extra precautions to stay dry.

It is unlikely that athlete’s foot will get better on its own. Treatment is easy enough with pharmacy-bought creams. To speed up the recovery process and prevent athlete’s foot from returning, it’s important to practice good foot hygiene, during treatment and afterwards.

If not resolved, athlete’s foot can become infected with bacteria. Cellulitis[5] is a severe infection that can spread deep into the body, and this can become life threatening. Follow the steps above to heal yourself, and reduce the risk of spreading the infection.

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athletes-foot-infographic

    Infographic Source: defensesoap.com[6]

    Featured photo credit: www.drjefflamour.com via drjefflamour.com

    Reference

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    Last Updated on August 15, 2018

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

    Video Summary

    Why is it important to train up our core strength?

    There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

    This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

    Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

    In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

    One Exercise, multiple benefits

    There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

    By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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    When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

    Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

    In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

    What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

    What will happen when you start doing planks every day

      1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

      Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

      • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
      • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
      • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
      • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

      2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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        Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

        Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

        3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

          Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

          4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

            Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

            A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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            A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

            On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

            5. You’ll improve overall balance

              Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

              6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                  Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                  How to hold a plank position

                  1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                  2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                  3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                  4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                  5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                  6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                  7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                  Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                  Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                    How to improve your plank time gradually

                    1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                    2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                    3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                    Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                    Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                    You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                    • Prolapse
                    • After prolapse surgery
                    • Pelvic pain conditions
                    • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                    • Previous childbirth
                    • Overweight

                    Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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