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You might not put much thought into your workout outfit — any old t-shirt and pair of sweats will do. It turns out that the fabrics in your gym gear can make quite the difference in how you feel during your workout. It’s wise to learn what types of fabrics and clothes could drag you down during exercise, as well as what types you should look for to maximize your next workout.
What Not to Wear
Most of the old t-shirts in your dresser drawers are made of cotton. These tees are certainly comfy enough to exercise in, but they’re not the ideal fabric for the task. That’s because cotton absorbs water rather than letting it air out. If you wear cotton while exercising, your clothes will feel wet and heavy as you start sweating. Check tags to make sure neither your shirt nor pants are heavily cotton-based.
- Non-Breathable Fabrics
Cotton breathes, but it’s too absorbent for sweat-inducing workouts. Some fabrics are even worse for your workout because they don’t breathe at all. This means that sweat can’t evaporate off of your skin, which means your body can’t cool itself off. In order to keep your temperature regulated, slip on a top and pants that are free of rubber or plastic materials and let that sweat out.
- Baggy Clothing
Baggy clothes can be just as problematic as tight ones. A huge hem is sure to catch on the gears of a cardio machine that you’re using. They can also cause you to slip in classes where it’s important that your legs or feet grip to the floor. Imagine trying to do a side plank while balancing on a billowing piece of fabric. It’s not a pretty — or safe — picture.
What to Wear
- Moisture-Wicking Fabrics
You’ve probably seen them dangling from the racks at fitness-centric clothing stores. There’s definitely merit in the popularity of moisture-wicking fabrics and clothing: they’re made of synthetic fabrics designed to pull moisture away from your skin. This facilitates the evaporation of sweat, which means that you’ll feel cooler, quicker. It also means you can avoid feeling uncomfortable in a shirt that’s drenched in sweat. Look for fabrics like bamboo, nylon and polyester for your coolest workout yet.
- Well-Fitted Clothes
Finding the perfectly fitted gym wear is a challenge, but it’s worth it. The key is choosing pieces that fit you well, but are neither too tight nor too loose. We’ve gone over the problems with super-loose pants; on the other hand, too-tight tops and bottoms might constrict your movement. A great middle ground in this scenario would be a tight-fitted pair of leggings that have stretch and give so that you can move freely. Consider the type of exercise you normally perform and find the fit and cut to match. If you really want to feel your best, make sure your choices come in moisture-wicking fabrics.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you’re exercising and improving your health. However, with the right outfit, you might find yourself pushing a little harder and lasting a little longer.