You’re a spring-cleaning fiend — vacuuming dust bunnies, washing the winter linens and scrubbing the baseboards until the entire house is refreshed. The start of a new season is also a good time to spring clean your workout.
Here’s an essential guide to blowing the cobwebs off your workout (and your equipment).
IF YOU DO YOGA: START SCRUBBING
Doing downward dog on a sweaty, stinky yoga mat is no one’s idea of Zen. Instead of rolling up the mat and stacking the blocks without giving their cleanliness a second thought, take the time to deep clean your gear.
“It’s so easy to forget about cleaning your yoga mat and props [or to feel like it’s an overwhelming task you don’t have time for], so it’s great to take advantage of built-in reminders like spring cleaning,” says Anna Guest-Jelley, yoga instructor, founder of Curvy Yoga and author of “Curvy Yoga: Love Yourself and Your Body a Little More Each Day.” “Cleaning your yoga props will keep you safe from germs while also extending [their] life.” Opt for a non-toxic cleaning spray or make your own concoction — add a squirt of mild dish detergent to a spray bottle filled with warm water. Spray your mat and props, wipe them down and let them dry.
READ MORE > ECO-FRIENDLY YOGA GEAR
Don’t stop at your yoga gear. Other exercise equipment from the treadmill and free weights to your gym bag also need to be cleaned. Use a mixture of gentle soap and water to scrub your equipment. Make sure everything dries completely before putting it away.
IF YOU RUN: REPLACE YOUR RUNNING SHOES
You tossed the sandals that gave you blisters and the flip flops with barely-there soles when you cleaned out the closest. Your sneakers also need a once-over.
“Typically the first sign that your shoes are “dead” — that the cushioning is packed out — are shin splints,” says Brent James, Product Line Manager, Run Footwear at Under Armour. “Knee and hip pain could also indicate that it’s time to replace your shoes, because when the cushioning wears out, your body has to absorb the impact that your shoes were handling.” He recommends to swap out training shoes at 400 miles.
Greg Chertok, a sports psychology coach and spokesperson for the American College of Sports Medicine, offers another reason to toss your old sneakers during spring cleaning. “It may seem superficial, but looking good sometimes precedes feeling good and is typically an effective motivational tool,” he says. The same goes for your workout clothes. If something is smelly even after it’s washed, it’s time to toss it.
IF YOU DO GROUP FITNESS: TRY SOMETHING NEW
It’s a great time to clear the cobwebs on your workout routine. Instead of showing up for the same deep stretch class at the yoga studio, try power yoga; go for a hike in nature instead of your regular walk around the block; or sign up for a race instead of running solo.
“Variety keeps things fresh,” Chertok says. “Ruts exist in fitness regimens. Intentionally changing things, even subtle things, can help us see workouts in a new light and with fresh perspective.”
READ MORE > SENSORY OVERLOAD OR THE BEST SPIN CLASS EVER?
In the process of trying new classes or fitness activities — or even creating a new workout playlist — Guest-Jelley notes that you just might find something you love that becomes a new exercise go-to.
Spring cleaning often involves adding seasonal touches like new pillows or a vase of fresh flowers — consider it a reward for washing the drapes. Similarly, you should reward yourself for hitting fitness goals, too. Go ahead and buy new running tights or a foam roller.
“Sometimes we don’t have the inner drive [to work out] and a reward gives us a necessary boost when we can’t seem to find it within ourselves,” Chertok says.
In other words, if new gear makes you feel like going for a run, it’s worth the splurge.
GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT WORKOUT