Workout in comfort: How to choose fitness apparel

The clothes you wear can affect how you feel during and after your workout. You should choose fitness apparel that keeps your body cool, dry and comfortable.

woman in sports bra

The fabric

Some synthetic fabrics are designed to keep sweat away from your skin rather than just absorbing it. They also help protect your skin from odour-causing bacteria. These fabrics “wick” the moisture away to keep your skin clean, cool, dry and comfortable. Look for fabrics sold under names like Cooledge, Coolmax, DriFit or Supplex for exercise. Try Lorna Jane Activewear, Black and Blue or Lululemon for fantastic options.

Cotton is soft and comfy but it’s not ideal when you are sweating. Cotton clothing absorbs the moisture and doesn’t allow it to evaporate quickly. Cotton workout apparel can feel heavy, wet and uncomfortable during exercise. It can also cause chafing. The worst fabrics are those that are plastic or rubber based. These materials don’t breathe. They block the sweat from evaporating causing your body to be wet, hot and uncomfortable.

The fit

Layer up:
When it’s mild outside, wear several thin layers rather than one heavy one. The layer that is closest to your body should be made from sweat-wicking fabric. You can add a hoodie or other insulating layers on top, then peel them off if you get warm.

Loose clothes are very comfortable, but not the best choice for fitness. When you are biking or jogging, loose pants can be a hindrance, so choose more form-fitting apparel instead.

For yoga, pilates and most dance fitness classes, fitted, stretchy fabrics that wick away sweat will keep you comfortable and dry. When you are exercising outdoors in hot weather, dress in cool, comfortable clothing that allows for ease of movement.

The bra

The right sports bra can make a world of difference when it comes to comfort. You need a bra that supports your breasts through compression to minimise movement while running and performing other exercises. Make sure you know your true bra size. It’s estimated that 70 per cent of women or more are wearing the wrong size bra. Get a professional fitting to find out your proper size. The straps of your sports bra shouldn’t dig into your shoulders. The band below your breasts should be tight enough that it doesn’t shift, but loose enough that it doesn’t bind or constrict.

The socks and shoes

Don’t pull on your ordinary cotton socks when going for a workout. The wrong socks (and shoes) can mean painful blisters and sweaty, uncomfortable feet. Select socks in a breathable, moisture-wicking material instead. You can also find padded socks that will help cushion your feet during strenuous, high-impact exercise. When it comes to shoes, make sure that you pick a pair that is designed for the type of exercise you enjoy. Avid runners should invest in a high-quality pair of running shoes. If you mix up your workout routine, cross-trainers should suit your needs.

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