5 Things You Need to Know About Exercise Clothing

By Bill Herrfeldt

You've finally decided to embark on an exercise program and you are looking around for the grubbiest clothes you can find. Little did you know that, if there was a time when dress mattered, it's when you begin to do exercises to accomplish your goals, whether they be to lose a few pounds or bulk up those forearms and legs so you can play better golf. Proper clothing will not only make you feel better psychologically, it will help you perform your exercises better.

Start from Scratch

If you are going to exercise the right way, you need to think about everything from what you will wear next to your skin to the types of garments that you'll wear over it. Contrary to popular belief, cotton undergarments are not the best things to wear during a workout because they absorb moisture and will create bacteria. Rather than cotton, look for garments that "wick" the perspiration and dry quickly. By definition, a garment that draws off liquid is said to wick. Polyester and other performance fabrics are a better choice.

Outer Garments

Your choice of outer garments will depend on the conditions under which you plan to exercise. For instance, if you plan to "power walk" outdoors in the winter, you should dress in layers. After your underwear, put on a lightweight fleece jacket, followed by a shell that needs to be lightweight and large enough to fit over the other garments and, allowing you to freely move. The added advantage to wearing layers is that you can remove the top layer if you become warm. If you plan on exercising indoors, look for lightweight items that contain performance fabric or polyester and also dress in layers.

Focus On Socks

It's difficult to imagine, but your feet can contribute up to a cup of perspiration during a workout. So it's important that you pay special attention when you select socks and footwear. Cotton socks are a great idea if you are exercising indoors because, instead of wicking the moisture away, they absorb your sweat in an environment where the temperature is controlled. However, if you are exercising outdoors where that is not the case, consider wearing socks made of synthetic fibers because they wick away the moisture if it is hot, and will keep you warmer than cotton if the temperature is low.

Shoes Are Important, Too

As to proper shoes, your selection depends on the type of exercise you have chosen to do. But whatever type you choose, expect to replace them about every six months. For instance, if you are planning to run, you need shoes that can absorb the constant shock on your heels. But if lifting weights is your thing, then you should have lighter weight shoes that can be somewhat less shock-absorbent.

The Extras

When exercising outside, wearing a hat may be a good idea. One reason is that your head expels more heat than most other parts of your body. Furthermore, a hat with a bill will shield your eyes from the sun. Also, if you frequently have to stop to re-tie your shoelaces, look for some that are made with metal and encased in plastic because they will stay tied.

About The Author

Bill Herrfeldt specializes in finance, sports and the needs of retiring people, and has been published in the national edition of "Erickson Tribune," the "Washington Post" and the "Arizona Republic." He graduated from the University of Louisville.

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