When it comes to clothes to work out in, do you prioritise fashion or comfort? Many of us fall somewhere in the middle. We may splurge on a pair of compression leggings designed to wick sweat and aid recovery, but on top we’re wearing an old, oversized cotton t-shirt. So, does it really matter what you wear in the gym?
Well, research say it does, revealing a direct correlation between what we wear and how we perform, as well as our motivation levels and even likelihood of injury.
1. It can prevent injury
Wearing appropriate clothing is crucial when you are an avid exerciser. Many sport injuries occur because of the lack of appropriate equipment, including clothes. Whichever activity you are engaged in, you should opt for the clothing for that particular sport, looking for something that provides ample protection against impact, strain, or overheating.
Invest in good quality compression wear, this type of kit increases circulation and blood flow to the heart, delivering much needed oxygen to working muscles, reducing fatigue and soreness by managing lactic acid accumulation, helping to improve power, endurance and recovery.
2. You won’t feel restricted
Lightweight materials and well-designed active wear should feel like a second skin, ensuring you don’t feel restricted while you train. Exercising in total comfort will allow you to solely concentrate on the task at hand, and workout to the best of your ability. Choosing clothing that allows full range of movement is incredibly important, so when choosing fitness clothing, pay close attention to the design and tailoring, opting for seamless kit which won’t irritate your skin, or rub.
3. It regulates and controls body temperature
An intense session at the gym will leave you thankful that you didn’t wear that old cotton top, as cotton absorbs sweat easily and retains moisture, leaving you feeling damp and heavy. You should opt for light, breathable and sweat-wicking fabrics which will draw moisture away from the body, leaving you feeling dry and comfortable.
4. It can improve performance
“You’ve no doubt heard the phrase, ‘dress for success’, and this can apply to what you wear in the gym. High quality, intelligent fabrics work with the body to accelerate performance, withstanding the rigours of intense training to keep you performing at your best. When it comes to improved performance, comfort is again key. You should opt for fitness clothing which is really designed for your chosen activity. If you’re likely to get sweaty, look for sweat-wicking fabrics which draw moisture away from the body and keep you feeling fresh.
5. It can boost confidence
Clothing can be empowering in everyday life, and when it comes to working out, contributing to our confidence levels and raising self-esteem. Indeed, there’s even a psychological phenomenon called “enclothed cognition” which suggests that the clothing a person wears can trigger mental changes that positively affect their performance and confidence level. In the simplest terms, when you look good, you feel more confident, so investing in gym kit which makes you feel the part can help you to feel better in the gym and truly conquer a workout.
6. It affects your skin
Low quality and often cheap active wear can contain fabrics which irritate the skin, causing rashes and itching during a workout. Exercise increases the flow of blood to your skin, and this can also result in itchiness. Sweat, dehydration, wearing tight clothing that prevents your skin from breathing and washing your workout attire in harsh detergents can cause also contribute to skin issues. Intense exercise can also cause clogging of your sweat glands, resulting in an itchy heat rash, so do make sure that you opt for light, breathable fabrics which keep your skin cool.
7. It can motivate you
Nothing motivates you to go the gym more than new kit. Not only will you feel good, but you’ll look good, and that’s something you want when surrounded by mirrors in the gym.