There’s no doubt about it: Duct tape has adhered itself to American hearts. Invented to help the war effort during World War II, duct tape originally went by the moniker “Duck Tape” because of its ability to repel water. Once the war was over, civilians started using the tape in construction. For a while it was used most commonly to hold metal air ducts together, earning the silver-gray adhesive its second (and current) name: duct tape. Pretty soon, consumers realized the tape was good for more than adhering ducts; it’s an incredibly versatile tool that has been used for anything from the Apollo 13 mission to making prom dresses. Turns out, the magical stuff also has some neat uses for the health- and fitness- inclined. Here, we’ve rounded up 15 of them.
1. Remove Warts
Apparently it’s not just an old wives’ tale. Studies of duct tape’s effectiveness have yielded mixed results, but some research does suggest regular gray duct tape can assist in wart treatment
2. Prevent Blisters from Ruining a Workout
Avid runners, walkers, and hikers are likely familiar with this trick: When you first feel the symptoms of an impending blister (i.e., burning, friction, or irritation), apply duct tape over the irritated spot as smoothly as possible. If a blister has already developed, protect it from the duct tape’s glue by placing a circle of paper or gauze directly over the blister, and then apply the duct tape on top. Voila: Pain be gone!
3. Make an Emergency Bandage
If you’re nowhere near a first aid kit when someone develops a cut, apply some sterile, absorbent fabric to the wound (a bandana or strip of t-shirt will do in a pinch) and then wrap duct tape around the cut (applying firm, but not constrictive, pressure) to hold the fabric in place.
4. Make a DIY Mask for CPR
Needs to administer mouth-to-mouth don’t have a CPR mask handy? A strip of duct tape could help save a life. Fold big piece of duct tape over on itself (so that the sticky side isn’t exposed) and cut a quick slit to breathe through (important note: do this quickly).
5. Trap Bugs
No one wants flying insects buzzing around inside. Keep bugs at bay by hanging long strips of duct tape from the ceiling (like flypaper). If you’re looking to get a cardio workout out of your bug trapping, wrap a tennis racket in duct tape (sticky side out) and wave it around to trap the little critters.
6. Keep Socks from Slipping
Sliding around in your socks on tile floors is all fun and games until someone crashes and cracks a few bones. Skip the skid by attaching a strip of duct tape to the bottom of each sock in order to make a non-slip sole. (This one’s especially handy if you have kids.)
7. Make an Apron
Need to protect your clothes from getting messy while whipping up some healthy recipes? No problem—just make an apron from duct tape!Or, heck, just make a whole water-resistant outfit out of duct tape.
8. Make Garden Labels
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, keep your herb and produce beds organized with adorable garden labels made from aluminum duct tape.
10. Get Stronger Arms
This move is super simple, but if the Marine Corps Times recommends it, we’re going to assume it’s pretty legit. Just hold a large roll of duct tape out to your side, and keep holding it there until you no longer can. Then repeat with the other arm.
11. Repair Ripped Camping Gear
Duct tape is one of the best tools to have around when it comes to preventing a camp trip from going downhill. Use it as a temporary fix for a hole in an air mattress or a rip in a tent or sleeping bag.
12. Improve Punching Accuracy
If you train with a punching bag, challenge your accuracy by placing little squares of duct tape on the bag to use as targets during a workout.
13. Correct Ski Issues
While out on the slopes, use duct tape to (temporarily) fix a broken ski pole or to reduce snow build up on skis—if snow keeps sticking to the bottom of your skis, simply apply a layer of duct tape. The slick side of the tape will prevent snow from collecting.
14. Make a DIY Sandbag
All you need to create your own sandbag (a great full-body workout tool) is a canvas laundry bag, a few heavy-duty garbage bags, some zip ties, some pea gravel, and (of course) duct tape.
15. Make a DIY Foam Roller
Foam rolling is a great way to relieve muscle tension, increase your range of motion, prevent injuries, and help with recovery. It’s pretty easy (and cheap) to make your own foam roller—all thanks to the power of duct tape.