After a hard workout, you'll feel exhausted, tired, sore, fantastic — and will probably be covered in sweat. Believe it or not, the clothes you wear for a workout can make a difference in how you feel afterexercise. Several factors can affect how comfortable your workout clothes are, including the fabric they're made of and whether they're right for the type of exercise you will be doing.
Workout Clothes: Pick “Workhorse” Fabrics
Some fabrics are designed to pull sweat away from your skin during exercise and others absorb it. When it comes to workout clothes, some choices are better than others.
- Think wicking. There are many breathable synthetic fabrics that “wick” the sweat away from your skin, which can help it to evaporate quickly and keep your body cool. Clothing made out of fabrics containing polypropylene or fabrics such as COOLMAX® and SUPPLEX® are a good choice for exercise and other activities in which you are likely to sweat a lot, as they allow the sweat to be evaporated from the skin but do not soak clothing and leave you feeling sweaty and uncomfortable.
- Consider cotton. Cotton shirts and pants, on the other hand, absorb the sweat, and they don't pull it away from the skin or help it to evaporate quickly. That’s why cotton workout clothes can feel heavy and wet as you exercise.
- Avoid fabrics that don’t breathe. Never wear clothing made out of rubber-based or plastic-based materials, which keep sweat from evaporating and keep your body temperature too high during a workout.
Workout Clothes: Get the Right Fit
To make sure that your workout clothes fit your body and the workout that you have planned, consider these tips:
- You should wear clothes that are loose and comfortable. But if you are running or biking, avoid wide-leg or loose pants that could get tangled up in the pedals or your feet.
- For activities such as yoga or Pilates, stretchy, fitted fabrics that wick away sweat are a good choice.
- In general, keep in mind that you don't want any clothing that gets in the way of the activity.
Workout Clothes: Change With the Seasons
If you exercise outdoors or play seasonal sports, what you wear may have to change with the seasons. Keep these tips in mind when dressing for outdoor exercise:
- Hot weather. During warm summer months, be sure to choose fabrics that allow your skin to breathe and wick sweat away. Dress in clothes that are cool and comfortable, and allow you to move freely.
- Cold weather. When it's very cold outside, you'll need to dress warmly, but keep in mind that you'll be exercising and boosting your heart rate and your body temperature. Dress in layers that you can remove, and always dress for weather that's warmer than what the thermometer outside says. Keep sweat-wicking clothing on your inner layer, and put an insulating layer on top of that. Always cover your head, ears, and hands to protect them from the cold.
- Wet or windy weather. Nothing can ruin an outdoor workout faster than getting soaked in the rain or caught in a strong wind. Wear an outer layer that protects your skin from the elements.
Just remember that no matter what the temperature, you're still likely to work up a sweat during a workout. Keep yourself as comfortable as possible with clothing designed for heavy exercise that wicks sweat away from the skin. And keep the weather in mind if you're exercising outdoors, and dress appropriately.