The Best Workout Clothing For Women
If you’ve been tossing on an old, oversize tee shirt and baggy shorts before heading to the gym or for an outdoor exercise session, it’s time to get some proper workout wear. Not only does cute, properly fitted exercise clothing make you look better, you will also be far more comfortable in styles and fabrics specifically designed for exercising and wicking away moisture.
Don’t think you have to have a perfect body to wear exercise clothing, or that you will be too exposed. You can find styles for every body shape, and can be as covered as you desire. The type of exercise you enjoy is also an important consideration. Obviously, if you are a swimmer, an appropriate swimsuit is a must, or if you study a martial art, there will be a required uniform. Other types of exercises give you more freedom to choose your workout gear.
Which Fabrics “Wick” Away Moisture?
If you expect to break a sweat, avoid 100 percent cotton workout wear. Cotton becomes cold and heavy when wet, and can lead to skin irritation from chafing. Cotton is a fine choice for very light exercise such as a short walk or easy stretching, but for anything more vigorous, your best bets are technical fabrics specifically designed for exercise. These fabrics are light and breathable enough to keep you comfortable, and wick moisture away from your skin to the fabric surface where it can evaporate. Exercise apparel is often made of a blend of technical fabrics, and sometimes has a touch of cotton for soft comfort.
Some technical fabrics you might encounter are:
What Exercise Will You Be Doing?
It’s hard to focus on your exercise session if you have to keep pulling your top down, your pants up or adjusting your bra strap. Clothing should be snug enough to stay in place, and loose enough to prevent binding or discomfort.
Bike riding or spin classes: The last thing you want on your ride is your pants tangling in the bike chain or pedals. If you will be on a bike of any sort, wear bike shorts , capris or pants that are snug all over and padded in the seat area. If you will be biking outdoors, a top made for bicycling will keep you covered without riding up. Look for long sleeves if it is chilly or you want to prevent sunburn. A light jacket over a short sleeve top will let you stay comfortable if the weather warms up. If you are road or mountain biking, shoes that clip into your pedals will keep your feet secure.
Running: Wearing a good sports bra and properly fit running shoes is essential for a runner. Beyond that, consider the weather. If it is cool, stretchy pants that allow you to hit full stride will be most comfortable, along with a long sleeve top that wicks sweat, and a light jacket you can remove once you heat up. In warmer weather, stick with running shorts and a lightweight top. Your socks should also be designed for running, with no irritating seams or heavy fabrics.
Gym time: If you are getting your cardio workout on the treadmill or elliptical, using the weight machines or free weights, or participating in an aerobics class, you want clothing that looks good and is comfortable. Inside the gym, you don’t need to worry about weather, so your options are limitless. Black exercise pants, capris or shorts are always stylish and suitable for any body type. A bright tee shirt, exercise top or tank will keep you looking cute and comfortable. You should wear comfortable socks and shoes made for aerobics or walking.
Yoga or Pilates: Yoga pants are fitted, with a very slight flair at the bottom. Their design keeps them in place during complex poses. Your top should be a fitted tank or short sleeve tee shirt that will not ride up when stretching or bending. You will be barefoot in a yoga class, so wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off.
Tips for Choosing Your Workout Wear
If you are uncomfortable with a part of your body, dress to draw attention away from that area. Choose black for areas you want to de-emphasize, lights or brights for areas you want to play up.
- Cover up just enough to keep from being cold. Layers are the best solution for outdoors exercise. If you are hot and miserable, you are likely to cut your exercise session short, or could become dangerously overheated.
- Look for patterns and designs that make you feel good. Putting on an exercise outfit that you love makes it likelier you will head for the gym instead of spending the night in front of the television.
- If you exercise outdoors early in the morning or after dusk, wear light colors or reflective accents so you are visible to motorists.
- In cold weather, a hat and gloves will keep you comfortable while exercising outdoors.
- Always wear the appropriate shoes for your sport, and a properly fitting sports bra.
- Pay attention to socks. If you will be doing a vigorous exercise such as running or kickboxing, socks that are made of wicking fabric and without chafing seams will keep your feet comfortable.
- Stretchy technical fabrics do best when washed by hand, or machine washed in cold water and allowed to line dry.
Heading for the gym or an outdoor exercise session should be a normal, fun part of your daily routine. Keep it enjoyable with appropriate workout apparel that looks good, feels good and keeps your mind on your performance, not on your clothes.