Yes, there are the obvious reasons that we don’t even need to mention (ahem, sex), but sometimes getting your kit off can actually help you get healthier.
Often we don’t like to even think of ourselves naked in front of a mirror, never mind actually doing it, but it’s time to put aside that ego! It’s super important to get familiar with your body so that you know if there are any unusual changes or developments.
Here are just 7 reasons why you should get naked…
1. Check for rashes
Why? Inflammation and scaling — particularly behind your knees and under your arms — are typical signs of eczema. Also watch for tiny, raised, rough bumps, usually on the backs of the arms, known as keratosis pilaris, a harmless condition, but it can itch.
Solution: Switch to fragrance-free soaps, body washes and lotions, and up your intake of avocado, flaxseeds and oily fish for a healthy boost of essential fatty acids.
2. Take a good look at your bruises
Why? Bruising easily is usually genetic, although it can be caused by blood-thinning drugs, such as aspirin or steroids, explains GP Dr Catti Moss. ‘Frequent bruises that take a week or more to clear could be a sign of liver disease, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis or, in rare cases, leukaemia.’
Solution: Use Arnica cream or gel to reduce the swelling and pain, but see your GP if you’re concerned.
3. Monitor moles
Why? Yet another great reason to get naked. With our harsh climate and thousands of cases of skin cancer reported every year in SA, keeping an eye on your moles is vital to ensure problems can be identified.
Solution: Next time you get naked, have a look at your moles and check whether they’ve changed in colour, shape and size. Try using the free My MoleChecker app (from iTunes) or Doctor Mole Skin Cancer (from Android) to keep track. It stores photos of them and you can compare them to example moles. You should also see a dermatologist once a year to give your skin the once over.
4. Guarantee good posture
Why? Hunched shoulders and a slumped spine put abnormal strain on muscles, joints and bones, leading to lower back pain and arthritis. Poor posture also restricts your airways, which can lead to tension headaches, stress and lethargy.
Solution: Get naked and look in the mirror side-on. A healthy back has three natural curves: a slight forward curve in the neck; a slight backward curve in the upper back; and a slight forward curve in the lower back.
Good posture means keeping these three curves in balanced alignment — and you need to do this all day, every day. So imagine there’s a cord attached to the crown of your head, which is being pulled up by a balloon, then open out your shoulders as if you are shrugging off a jacket.
Read more: 10 nutritional myths most people believe
5. Measure your waist
Why? It’s a good way to check your fat distribution. Carrying too much weight around your middle (more than 80cm for women) increases your risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Solution: Think workouts rather than just sit-ups. ‘Endless crunches may strengthen the abdominal muscles, but won’t burn away fat sitting on top,’ says fitness expert Dax Moy. Up your cardio and HIIT sessions to burn away the unwanted fat.
6. Test your bra
Why? A bra that fits you properly is vital, otherwise you’re set for a lifetime of backache, shoulder pain, headaches and even stomach upsets. Put on your bra: are your breasts spilling out of the cups? Does the back strap ride up? Do you have strap marks when you take it off? Do the straps constantly fall off? If it’s a ‘yes’ to any of these, you’re wearing the wrong size.
Solution: Get professionally measured for the right size bra!
7. Identify water retention
Why? Puffiness around your ankles, middle and face is a sign of fluid retention. This is usually caused by changing hormonal levels, such as when you’re pre-menstrual, or lifestyle factors, such as stress, but it can also be a sign of mild hypothyroidism, kidney disease or heart disease.
Solution: Losing excess weight can really help reduce puffiness, as can eating more fruit and vegetables. If the puffiness persists, see your GP.