Should You Run with Jewelry On?
There are just some things you don’t give a second thought to before you go on a run. One of those things is jewelry. A large portion of runners use their Garmin as their everyday watch anyway; you want it on. Silicon wedding bands, especially during the summer months when boating and going to the pool are a common occurrence, are becoming popular for everyday wear. What happens though when you wear your pearl studs, a white gold pendant necklace or sterling silver bracelet on a sweaty run? What about your wedding band made of a precious metal? Is wearing jewelry on your run no big deal or will it eventually be an issue?
Precious metals are soft which means they can scratch easily. The softest of the metals, platinum, can also dent very easily. You run the risk of it falling off or breaking if it gets caught on something, but that’s a risk when you aren’t on a run. Seeing as running is a contactless sport, any risk of damage to you or your jewelry is low.
The best metals to wear running are stainless steel and titanium alloys especially if you are cross-training and exposing yourself and your jewelry to chlorine. Regardless of your metal choice, all of that sweat and exposure to grime will dull its shine, so you’ll need to clean it a little more often.
You’ll want to avoid breaking a sweat in costume jewelry. While some of it is very expensive, it does not have the same metal content that fine jewelry does. The precious metal plating on it might not be thick. Nickel, which is under the plating, is not a metal you want to be wearing if you are sweating. Sweat can cause corrosion of nickel that leads to the breakdown of Nickel that absorbs into the skin and causes an allergic reaction.
Nickel allergies are caused by prolonged contact with the metal combined with sweat. Often the nickel is plated with gold, silver or platinum in jewelry making but most often cheaper jewelry stops at the nickel plate, so the nickel is in direct contact with the skin.
While naturally occurring gemstones can be fragile your sweat isn’t going to do any damage. Gemstones like diamonds, rubies, and sapphires won’t scratch, but they can chip. Opals and pearls are delicate; earrings might be safe but any other jewelry that contains them should be removed.
Another factor you need to consider is the prongs that hold stones in can easily get caught in fabrics or get moved if they strike a piece of gym equipment. The good news is that running is not a contact sport and you won’t even encounter dumbbells or a Pilates mat.
Long ago in a place called the 1990s, the “in” thing was watches that had Velcro fabric bands. They were great. They went in the pool, you could camp, run, hike, go to the lake and do whatever you wanted, including showering, and your watch and band could take it all. After a while though, these watches started to stink and cause visible skin irritation. So did their friendship bracelet counterpart that was also popular at the time.
Any jewelry made of fabric like cotton, nylon or silk seems fine to run in, but all it’s going to do is absorb and trap your stinky sweat. Yes, it will dry out but so will your running clothes and then you’ll promptly wash them. No one wants to have to wash their jewelry. It’s not designed to become wet and dry numerous times over. You are going to eventually deal with mold or mildew in the fabric. The irritation of the fabric getting wet and rubbing your wrist or neck during your run, or after if you don’t remove it dry, could become a dermatological issue you don’t want to deal with.
One thing to think about is swelling. This relates specifically to rings. Your wedding band, while it means a lot to you, could become very uncomfortable on long runs. If the upcoming summer is going to be hot and humid and you find yourself running insanely early to beat the summer heat, leaving your wedding band at home might be a good idea. If that bothers you or your spouse, spending a few dollars on a more forgiving silicon version might be your answer. Anytime your body swells around an object it can become painful. Wearing a silicon wedding band that will allow for some give will avoid uncomfortable hands. Regardless of the weather, you never know when swelling will occur. It’s best to leave it at home.
Keeping It Safe
When you hop right out of bed in the morning your jewelry is most likely already off but when you hit the gym during your lunch or after work, you do have to deal with taking your jewelry off. The best thing to do is either invest in a padlock for your gym locker, use free lockers that self-lock or, if you are able, place the jewelry in a secure location in your office or car while no one is watching.
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