Spitting in your goggles and other weird sports habits

At the pool, do you spit in your goggles without really knowing why? Let us tell you why those weird sports habits can be useful:

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 We all have our habits when it comes to sport. In the locker room, on the starting line or on the bench, certain things help keep your head in the game. But outsiders may find them surprising. If you've always wondered why people spit in their swimming goggles or run in place at a red light, read on to find out the reasons behind these weird sport habits.

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Why do people spit in their swimming goggles?

You've probably seen this and may even do it without really wondering why. Swimmers will put a bit of saliva on the inside of their goggles.

Is it just a superstition? Actually, it's to prevent their goggles fogging up: the temperature difference between the pool water and your body causes fog to form (just like when you get in the car and it's cold outside). Saliva creates a thin film inside the goggles that keeps fog from sticking.

If you aren't too keen on spitting in public or are worried about your aim, there are some other unconventional solutions too: shower gel, dish soap, toothpaste and even potato! Just coat your goggles, then rinse with clean water.

Or, you could just buy a pair of goggles treated with an anti-fog coating. But be sure not to touch the lenses or let water inside your goggles. If you're still having a hard time, you can try anti-fog markers to quickly and easily coat your goggles. 

Why (and most of all how) do you wear cycling shorts?

If you're new to cycling, you'll likely be wearing a very particular outfit. We're not talking about sleek glasses or shoes with cleats but cycling shorts! Cycling shorts are a must-have for this sport and are known for their especially slim cut.

 

Do they make you more aerodynamic? Not exactly. The reason they're cut so slim is to prevent chafing. It's not just your shoes that get worn over the kilometres. When cycling, the groin area is subjected to chafing and perspiration, leaving you prone to irritation. Cycling tights are seamless and made from breathable fabrics to limit these problems.

Another benefit is the pad, also called a "skin", between the legs that offers extra cushioning. You'll feel the difference after a few hours on the saddle.

 

You probably figured, but cycling shorts are worn directly against the skin. Doing so keeps you more comfortable, evacuates heat and prevents chafing. Just like a kilt...

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Why soak your mouthguard in hot water?

From being in your coach's hands between boxing rounds to getting tucked in a sock while you make a rugby penalty kick, absent-mindedly chewed on while you're on the bench waiting to go in or just waiting to make you look silly when you smile after scoring a three-pointer, a mouthguard is a pretty important piece of equipment in a lot of sports. It is both a good luck charm and an accessory for protection, and a very personal item, which is rather logical given how much time it spends in your mouth. Among the good habits for taking care of your mouthguard, soaking it in hot water is an important one.

A basic hygiene practice? Not exactly. The point of a mouthguard is to offer good protection. To do that, you need to mould it to your teeth, which requires soaking it in hot water. After 20 to 30 seconds, the plastic becomes malleable and will fit to the shape of your teeth. This keeps your mouthguard from shifting to one side or the other in your mouth while you're playing.

One tip to keep it fitting too tight: dry it off or dip it in lukewarm water in between the hot water stage and fitting it to your teeth.

Why run in place while waiting for a red light?

Another funny habit we've all witnessed is the propensity for joggers to run in place as they wait at a red light. For some, taking a break would seem the obvious thing to do when the opportunity presents itself. Does it stem from an obsession for running at all times, extreme motivation, a desire to never give up? Why do people do this?

Because distance running is first and foremost about keeping up your rhythm! To maintain your breathing and stride, it's easier to run in place or do knee lifts than to take a break at a pedestrian crossing. If you've ever run cross country or middle distances, you know the effect that rhythm changes and sprints can have on your legs and lungs. But feel free to stop at every red light with your hands on your hips during your next jog. You'll feel it, guaranteed...

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Why do swimmers shave?

This final habit is one that has left many people wondering: why do swimmers shave? Is it a pre-race ritual or simply a style? Why shave before diving in?

 

Obviously, you automatically think about resistance in the water and the precious fractions of a second you might "shave" off your time with baby smooth skin. And that's partially true. But shaving is really more a question of feeling!

When you shave, you remove a fine layer of skin along with your hair. The skin is much more sensitive to the feeling of gliding through the water, which is crucial for perfecting your technique.

It's a habit that's been confirmed in synchronised swimming! It's not really about time and setting records, but feeling where the water is on the legs during the movements. The trick is to shave the night before and not the day of!

What sport habits do you find surprising? Vaseline on boxers' or rugby players' brows? Refs who seem obsessed by boot studs? Share your questions and answers about the strange ways of sports enthusiasts!

Spitting in your goggles and other weird sports habits

MERWEN

DECATHLON TEAM EDITOR

PLAYGROUND FANATIC, PASSIONATE ABOUT BASKETBALL COURTS, SWIMMING ENTHUSIAST, AND GENERAL SPORTS LOVER.