Stripping down for fitness is becoming ever-more popular, from naked yoga to naked CrossFit. Check out some of the pros and cons and how you can start. Would you strip down to your birthday suit?

After reading about a CrossFit gym in Denmark that’s now offering a nude CrossFit workout session, I couldn’t help but think of all the things that could go wrong – a poorly thrown medicine ball, a barbell yanked up at the wrong angle… and all those jump rope double-unders – yikes!

And truthfully, I don’t think naked CrossFit will catch on. CrossFit athletes add tape and guards to their hands, shins, and forearms to avoid injuries. So, I think it’s impractical to strip down more.

That said, naked workouts have been around for years, and they’re growing in popularity.

Naked Swimming

Swimming naked at a public pool might raise eyebrows today. But, until the 1960s, it was common, and even required, for men to swim in the nude at pools. The original requirements were based on function and cleanliness.

The wool fibers of swimsuits would quickly clog the simple filters. So, going without suits was better for the facilities.

Later, before chlorine and UV became common for pool sanitation, men would get a total-body inspection. It made sure they had no skin diseases or open sores that could spread to swimmers.

When fabrics and sanitation systems improved, the need to swim naked ended. This led to today’s rule requiring swimmers to wear appropriate swim gear at all times.

But, swimming is actually one of the few naked fitness activities that makes sense to me.

When swimming, you’re not using shared equipment or sweating on it. Water’s nature reduces the chance of injury. Finding public pools with naked swimming sessions may be hard. But, if you have a private pool and want to try naked exercise, why not dive in?

Naked Yoga

Naked yoga is another nude form of exercise that seems to be growing. From a functional standpoint, I can understand why. Most yogis use their own mats, not shared equipment. There’s also little chance of injury to private areas.

Advocates for naked yoga claim that it’s freeing and confidence-boosting. It helps you see your form and deepen your practice.

Naked yoga studios, such as Bold & Naked, are popping up in major cities. Online and DVD classes are available to those who want to try the trend at home.

I would find it hard to do a downward-facing dog in a group. But, for those who feel comfortable with it, it’s nice to know there are options.

Naked Gyms

That brings us back to naked CrossFit… and another other similar naked exercise experiences that take place in gyms.

I have managed gyms and fitness centers for seven years. I have some basic problems with the concept. First, it’s quite possibly unsafe.

Most gyms require closed-toe shoes for a reason. Women are encouraged to wear supportive sports bras for a reason. And I cringe to think about the guy who accidentally drops a dumbbell in his lap haphazardly.

Clothing isn’t inherently protective from accidents. But, it does add a buffer from dangers. It also holds the “wobbly bits” close to the body.

I’ll also add that clothing helps protect gym equipment from its users, and users from other users. Sweat and oils on people’s skin can harm benches and weight machines.

The growing MRSA problem at gyms makes less skin-to-equipment contact better for everyone. Not to mention any other contagious skin infection that could be spread through shared equipment contact.

But I do understand that seeing your body in its stripped-down glory can help you appreciate your muscles and form during exercise. If you want to see your body in a deep squat, strip at home.

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