You need the right clothes to get the most out of your workout. Cotton absorbs moisture and gets heavy and wet when you sweat it in, so it’s not an appropriate fabric to wear for any but the lightest workouts where you won’t sweat much. For most workouts, you’re going to need workout clothes that look good, fit well, and are made with performance fabrics that can keep you cool, dry, comfortable, and smelling good throughout your workout. And since many of us live in leggings these days, you may even want something that will keep feeling comfortable and smelling fresh for hours after your workout is done.
So, what should you look for in activewear? It should fit well and allow you a full range of movement to perform exercises properly. It should be fashionable, so you’ll look forward to putting on your stylish activewear and working out. It should offer support for the parts of your body that need it. It should wick sweat and control odor. And if you like to exercise outdoors, you’ll want activewear that protects you from the elements, whether it’s cold and rainy, snowy, or sunny.
Activewear that doesn’t fit properly is going to chafe and dig into your body at the seams. You need to make sure your activewear fits properly before you buy it. That’s why it’s often best to shop for activewear in person, so you can try it on and move around in it a little before you buy. If you shop for activewear online, make sure you can return pieces that don’t fit.
To make sure that activewear clothes fit before you buy them, put them on and move around in the dressing room the same way you move around when you’re working out. Jog in place, do jumping jacks, twist from side to side, or do some lunges. Make sure everything stays in place and that there aren’t any seams digging in.
It’s important to be comfortable and have your full range of movement during a workout. So make sure you’re able to move and stretch normally in that new pair of leggings. Make sure that all your body parts stay inside your clothes when you do yoga poses, squats, or jogging.
It might not seem that important to look good in your workout clothes, but it is actually very important that you do. Scientists have found that putting on an outfit can mentally prepare you for the activity linked to that outfit. It’s called “enclothed cognition,” and it means that when you put on your favorite workout clothes, you’re undergoing a subtle mental shift that can enhance your athletic performance and help you get more out of your workout. Plus, high-end, brand-name workout clothes tend to be higher quality anyway.
If you’re going to be working up a sweat at the gym, you need gym clothes that can wick sweat away from your body and allow it to evaporate. Look for activewear made with performance fabrics that attract moisture and dry quickly. It’ll keep you from feeling gross and sweaty during your workout and help you stay cool and comfortable, because it will allow your sweat to evaporate quickly and cool you down as it was meant to do.
You’ll also need antimicrobial activewear for odor control. Activewear is increasingly made with zinc ion treatments that allow fabric to kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses on contact. You’ll smell better during your workout, and afterward, too, which can make all the difference if you don’t get the chance to change out of your workout gear after your workout is done.
Support for those parts of your body that need support is crucial. For women, this can mean buying sports bras that fit and support the breasts during exercise. If you have a smaller chest, you can probably buy sports bras that come in small, medium, and large sizes, but if you have a larger chest, you’ll need to look at sports bras that come in regular bra sizes. The more impact-heavy your workout, the more support you’ll need from a bra. A low- or medium-support bra is fine for activities like yoga or walking, while a high-support bra will be necessary for high-impact activities like jogging or crossfit. Sweat-wicking is important in a bra, too – otherwise it can be hard to peel off a wet, tight sports bra.
For both men and women, getting support can mean wearing compression clothing that helps keep your blood flowing properly during your workout. Compression fabric takes some of the strain off your heart, helps you perform better, and reduces soreness after a workout.
If you exercise outside, you’ll need activewear that can protect you from the elements. Buy a wind-proof and waterproof top that you can layer over long-sleeved tees. Make sure you have snug-fitting clothes to wear during cold weather. It’s better for layering and keeps you warmer.
When you shop for activewear, you need to make sure you’re buying clothes that look and feel good for your workout, in performance fabrics that offer you the support you need. Don’t skimp on activewear. You’ll be surprised at how much your performance improves when you’re wearing the right clothes.