When it comes to working out, the type of clothing you wear can really enhance, or get in the way of, your exercise. Choosing the wrong kind of fabric can ruin what would otherwise be a great workout, so to get optimal results and stay as cool and comfortable as possible at the gym or on a run, it is important to make sure you’re wearing appropriate clothing and that the fabric is suitable for the activity and climate.
You don’t want to end up getting too warm in an already hot and sweaty gym environment, feel restricted in classes that require flexibility, like yoga, or feel discomfort on a run or cycle. As well as being distracting, this can actually be dangerous and even detrimental to your health, leading to all kinds of potential strains and sports injuries. Before you go shopping for new fitness clothing check out this list of the best fabrics;
In colder weather, merino is great for outdoor sports activities like running, and makes for great base layers for things like cycling. It is light and will keep your body warm in wintry weather, but unlike other materials, such as fleece, it is body temperature regulating, meaning that it will stop you from overheating. It also keeps the sweat at bay, wicking sweat away from the body, so you will stay nice and dry, too. As an extra bonus, merino contains anti-bacterial properties, so odours from any sweat is less likely to be absorbed.
Compression clothing is great for your muscles and especially good for avoiding injuries and strains. Because it improves your circulation, and therefore increases blood flow, more oxygen is able to get to the muscles, leading to better performance and optimal comfort. Compression fabrics, usually a mix of nylon and spandex materials, are very light, stretchy, flexible and can feel as though you are wearing nothing at all. They are not restrictive, improve recovery and reduce stiffness, too.
You want to stay fresh as possible throughout whatever workout you are doing, and moisture wicking fabrics are the answer. Though it is cheap and the most common fabric on the market and is great for aerobics, cotton is a no go when it comes to fitness clothing, because it traps perspiration, preventing your body cooling down. This can be problematic, particularly in summer, so be sure to check labels. Polyester, lycra and nylon are the main moisture-wicking fabrics available that will dissipate sweat.
Cotton is not recommended for exercise that produces sweat, like running, cycling, gym or cardio, but it can be great for light walking, jogging or aerobics, like yoga, and is usually light and loose fitting, allowing for movement.
Remember, everyone wants to look good while they work out, and luckily there are lots of fashionable sports clothes on the market now that incorporate these materials and fabrics. However, you should always put comfort, fit and practicality first, and never compromise in the name of fashion.