Let’s face it: workout gear can be expensive, and sometimes you wonder if purchasing gear just to sweat in is worth it. According to recent statistics, the global sportswear market amounted to more than $270 billion in 2014, and that number seems to be growing more and more.
Is athletic gear just another ploy to steal away your hard-earned money? Maybe, but before you contemplate going for a run in some old sweats and a t-shirt, you should know why experts say your exercise attire is pretty important.
Now, you don’t necessarily have to shell out the big bucks for a brand name tennis shoe or clothing with a big logo splashed across the front, but you do need to start paying attention to certain aspects of your workout wardrobe. Here are a few tips to know when you go shopping for your gym outfits.
Ever hear of clothes that “wick?” The term refers to fabrics that help moisture evaporate quickly. If you wear wicking materials to the gym, you’ll feel cooler and more comfortable than if you wear rubber or plastic-based materials that seal in the heat. It’s easy to overheat during an intense workout, so pick outfits that will help your body regulate itself.
Sure, that old college t-shirt might seem like the perfect throway shirt to wear on a run, but it’s actually one of the worst things to put on. Cotton absorbs liquid more than many other materials, and unfortunately, it doesn’t release it very quickly.
That means your t-shirt will simply soak up your sweat and hold it against you, which might give you chills or cause skin irritation. Plus, you don’t exactly smell great after you’re done exercising. Instead, opt for a stretchy fabric that won’t retain as much moisture. Your skin (and your workout buddies) will thank you later.
Selecting a tennis shoe isn’t just about finding the hottest style or cheapest price. Wearing the wrong shoe can leave you with painful shin splints or sore feet, and that will only negatively-impact your workout routine.
When picking your gym shoes, select a pair that will be just for exercising. For example, if you have a pair of adidas running sneakers that you really love, consider sticking with that brand. You’ll need a pair that’s built for intense movements–and they might not be the most fashionable. Do some research to make sure that your shoe has plenty of cushioning and is flexible. Also, pay attention to your feet, specifically. Some people have high arches or wide feet. That’s why measuring your foot is important. Figure out exactly what size you need and purchase any inserts you may require. Not only will you prevent many gruesome injuries, but you’ll also make sure you’re getting the most out of your workouts.
Every year, some new super trend hits athletic stores, and some are actually helpful. However, some aren’t worth your money. For instance, you may have heard about other exercisers wearing compression clothing to improve their performance and recovery speeds. The New York Times published an article stating that although there are no negative effects from exercising in compression clothing, the benefits might not be all that noticeable.
Sure, it might be fun to try, but is it really worth forking over $40 for a shirt that “might” help? Do your own research to ascertain what trends are right for you. If you do want to wear certain clothes or shoes during your workout–consider shopping at a smaller retail store. You’re likely to get whatever it is you’re buying for a better price rather than going to a chain department store.
According to recent research, wearing stylish workout gear can actually improve your athletic performance. A study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology suggests that the clothing you wear can influence your behavior and attitude if it carries a symbolic meaning.
For instance, a med student who wears a white lab coat during an exam might perform better than one who wears his regular clothing. Therefore, by adorning yourself in fashionable, sporty gear, you might actually boost your confidence in the gym.
When you’re riding bicycles, lifting weights, and moving around frequently, baggy clothing isn’t just annoying: it’s dangerous. The chances of getting caught on a piece of equipment or tripping are higher in your loose sweatpants, so switch them out for a pair of tight-fitting pants.
Try to select clothing that will give you a firm grip on the equipment but that also breathes well. Additionally, avoid wide legs or overly long sleeves. Your best options are probably stretchy pants, shorts, or capris and a close-fitting tank top or shirt. It’s not about showing off how toned your body is: it’s about staying safe during your entire workout.
Pay attention to the weather outside. It makes no sense to shiver or sweat more than you need to. During the summer months, make an extra effort to only work out in breathable clothing that can wick away sweat. When temperatures start to cool down, it gets a little more difficult.
You’ll want to stay warm, but you’ll also need to keep your body from overheating while you move about. The solution? Wear sweat-wicking inner layers and a heavier insulated jacket as your outer layer. Also, cover your extremities with hats and gloves if necessary.
If you’re worried you aren’t wearing the proper workout clothes–there’s no need to panic. As long as you have some of the appropriate gear for your workout of choice, you’re good to go. Plus, you can always add more to your collection over time, so don’t worry about buying a whole lot at once.
It may seem silly, but it’s something you should be taking seriously. The last thing you want is to get injured while working out, it could affect your life in more ways than one. As long you are wearing something that’s comfortable and is helping you with your workout rather than holding you back–you’re in pretty good shape.