Whether you are going down to the gym, practicing with the soccer team, shooting a few hoops, running the trail or taking part in any other physically demanding activity, it’s important to wear the right clothes. Your apparel needs to be appropriate for the activity. It is obvious that you shouldn’t dress the same for football as you would for yoga, but this also applies across the board.
Fitness wear has become increasingly fashionable. As a result, it can be tempting to dress for exercise according to what styles are in vogue, what name brands are currently hip, and what makes you look good. To some degree, this is not a bad thing. The most popular fitness brands usually achieve their status because they make high-quality products, and if your fitness wear makes you look good, you will feel good and will be more inclined to push your workout.
Nevertheless, your choice of clothes for exercise should be practical and based first and foremost on safety and health. After all, getting healthy is what it’s all about. However, there is a science to exercise wear that needs to be understood, and you also need to make common-sense decisions on what is appropriate for each activity.
Choose your material
Generally, it is best to go for synthetic fabrics that soak up moisture like sweat. If you wear a cotton T-shirt for strenuous activity, it will become increasingly heavy and damp as it holds onto your sweat, not to mention that unpleasant feeling and odor. Loose cotton clothing can be good for low-impact workouts when you’re not as likely to work up a major sweat. If you’re doing this, you should make sure that the air can get to your skin and dry perspiration while it’s still on your body.
Synthetic fabrics like polypropylene, polyester, Lycra and spandex are all good absorbent materials for exercise wear. Form-fitting clothing that will move with your body is best for activities like yoga, aerobics and Pilates.
For activities with a lot of movement or body contact, women should wear a well-fitting, supportive sports bra, while men should wear a jock strap or protective cup. It is also worth considering compression wear, which can offer extra support to the areas of the body that generally bear the physical brunt of exercise, such as knees, elbows, wrists, thighs and calves. If you choose to wear Tommie Copper compression gear or other types of compression wear, it can also help to protect against chafing and help any injuries you do sustain to heal quicker.
If you are running or training outdoors in winter or in the evenings, opt for layers of clothing to keep warm that can be removed as you feel yourself heating up. Don’t forget to cover your head when you are outdoors in the cold. This will keep you warm, as lots of body heat escapes through the top of the head. In the heat of the day, meanwhile, it will protect you from sunburn or sunstroke.
When you are going down to the gym, always bring specific gym clothes to change into for your session. Afterward, take a shower before changing back into your street clothes. Don’t be tempted to take off too much while exercising in a public gym as you’ll be exposing your bare skin to other people’s germs.
Look after your feet
Appropriate footwear is perhaps the most important part of any fitness activity. You should wear shoes that protect your feet, are comfortable and fit well. Cushioned soles and arch support are very important in any activity that is hard on the feet. Choose high-quality footwear that is activity appropriate. If you’re playing tennis, wear tennis shoes. If you’re going running, you should wear running shoes. It sounds obvious, but how many times have we all assumed that one pair of sneakers will be appropriate for all sporting and fitness activities? This isn’t the case, as you’ll find out to your detriment.
Ultimately, you should choose exercise wear that you feel comfortable in. These could be shorts, T-shirts, leggings, workout pants, sweatshirts or whatever feels right. There is no one simple solution; different clothes are appropriate for different activities, individuals and occasions. Do your research and find out what is recommended for the activity you’re undertaking. Adapt this to your body type and what makes you feel okay. Whether you cover up or strip down is entirely up to you. You’re not doing this to be judged; you’re doing it to get fit and have fun. Your fitness wear should reflect this.