Athleisure trends aside, activewear needs to fulfill a function. A good piece of activewear should be comfortable enough to wear during physical activity, but that’s not all. The right activewear will actually improve your performance.
Your activewear should be doing a lot for your body. It should provide the support you need to exercise effectively. It should wick sweat to keep you cool and dry and smelling fresh throughout your workout. It should give you the freedom to move your body any way you want. And it should look good, so you feel good about putting on your clothes to workout, and perform better when you’re wearing them.
1) Provide Support
Activewear should provide the support you need to get through your workout.. If you have breasts, you need a sports bra that provides the right level of support for your exercise. You can choose a low-impact support bra for activities like walking or yoga, but you’ll need a high-impact support bra for high-impact activities like jogging. A sports bra should fit snugly, and while a low-impact support bra will still allow your breasts to move somewhat, a high-impact sports bra should keep them pretty much stationary while you do high-impact exercises involving running and jumping.
It’s not just bras that need to provide support. Activewear needs to offer a level of coverage that keeps you comfortable, and it should stay in place while you’re moving, or at least not ride up enough to reveal anything. Compression clothes can apply enough pressure to your blood vessels to optimize your blood flow during your workout, keeping your muscles well oxygenated so you won’t be as sore the next day.
2) Wick Sweat
Sweating is your body’s way of trying to stay cool. But the thing about sweat is that if it’s not able to evaporate off your body, it’s not going to keep you cool. The right activewear will have sweat-wicking and fast-drying properties that will help keep you cool naturally throughout your workout. Performance fabrics soak up moisture quickly and dry fast to keep your body cool. Fabrics like cotton, on the other hand, just get wet and stay wet.
3) Allow Freedom of Movement
There’s a reason so much activewear is made out of stretchy fabrics like spandex. It’s because you need a full range of movement when you’re exercising. You can’t do yoga in a pair of jeans because, among other things, you wouldn’t have the range of motion you have in a pair of yoga pants.
Often, activewear is designed for specific activities, too. A pair of hiking boots will have extra shock absorption in the heels so you can walk further on uneven terrain. Bicycle shorts are extra long to prevent chafing and skin tight so they won’t bind or get caught on the bicycle. Using the right clothes for your activity will improve your performance and could keep you from getting hurt.
4) Stay Fresh
No one likes the body odor that comes with working up a sweat. That odor is caused by bacteria on your skin feeding on the proteins and fats in your sweat. These days, you can buy antimicrobial activewear. The fabric is treated with zinc or other metals, like silver, copper, gold, or tin, to kill viruses and bacteria on contact. Bacteria won’t grow on the clothes, and they won’t smell. You’ll smell better, too, and your gym clothes will stay fresher for longer. No more permastink!
5) Look Good
Is it important to look good while you’re working out? Yes, because putting on workout clothes can help you get into the mindset to workout and can even improve your performance. It’s called “enclothed cognition” and it works for other types of outfits, too. It means that putting on a specific outfit mentally primes you to fulfill the role that outfit represents. If you buy nice workout clothes, you’ll feel more like an athlete when you put them on, and you’ll perform better. You’ll also be more likely to want to put them on and exercise.
Is your activewear doing all it can for you? You really need to be able to rely on your clothes to provide you with the support and comfort you need, so you can focus on working hard in the gym. The right activewear really can help you get more out of your workouts, but you should always make sure it’s got all the features you need to do your best.