Choosing the right Activewear is not just about picking tops and t-shirts with matching bottoms but it’s also about being able to do your choice of physical activity comfortably and efficiently such that you get your desired results.
The activewear industry is booming with new technological advancements and there are a plenty of options available off the shelf. All you need to do is pick, pay and use. But before you do that, take heed of certain important factors so that you can make the most out of your fitness clothing purchase. Let’s check these.
Let’s start from the inside. The importance of choosing the right Inner wear is immense. However, this one often gets overlooked for the simple reason that it’s on the inside. Both men and women must make informed choices pertaining to these garment pieces especially when it’s about exercising.
WOMEN – Choosing a Sports Bra
This activewear is meant to provide maximum support to breasts while doing an exercise. A good choice can help you steer clear of problems like back and neck pains, ligament damage, sagging, abrasion and infections. So, while choosing a Sports Bra, the following must be kept in mind :
The Exercise Intensity
- If your choice of activity is Low Impact – Slow to Medium Paced Walking, Swimming, Yoga, Pilates, TRX, Cycling, Kayaking, Rowing etc – then one must choose a Low Impact Bra.
- If one likes Skiing, Running, Brisk Walking, Zumba, Hiking and other medium paced exercises, then the choice should be a Medium Impact Bra.
- High Impact exercises like Gymnastics, Playing Hockey or Football, Jumping etc, require High Impact Bras.
The Right Fit
- If you can see breast bulges near armpits and on the chest OR the straps and the elastic underneath digs into your skin, that means the bra is too Tight.
- If the bra gets lifted up, the moment you lift your arms OR the straps keep falling OR a gap is noticeable between the breasts and the bra cups then this indicates a Loose Fit.
- Ideally, you should be able to slide two fingers beneath the bra straps and elastic and it should sit comfortably on your body without causing any kind of irritation or discomfort.
Compression and Encapsulation
- Compression inhibits the breasts in-out movement whereas Encapsulation prevents in-out, up-down and sideways movement of the breasts during any physical activity, thereby reducing any chances of sagging or ligament damage. Hence, in order to find whether you need compression/ encapsulation or both in your sports bra, you need to take into account your exercise intensity and the size of your breasts.
- Cotton is good but if you think, you are going to perspire a lot (because of the weather or intensity of exercise ), choose Wicking Fabrics that will keep moisture/ sweat away from body and would be more breathable. Perspiration further produces bacteria that cause odour. The new range activewear are Anti Microbial that ensure you are odour free.
WOMEN – Choosing Underpants
Leggings, yoga pants, cycling shorts are actually some great pieces of activewear that are comfortable and very versatile but the only problem that they come with, are the very much visible panty lines and camel toes.
To avoid this embarrassment, choose panties that are Seamless (Having no seams or folded edges that create an impression on the legging surface.) and if you are comfortable, go for thongs.
For Camel Toes, you can choose underwear that have a thicker gusset area or can also, use Panty Liners.
MEN – Choosing Underpants
For men, choosing the right underpants matters a lot, since the kind and intensity of physical activity/ sports they do, can have an impact on the health of their sexual organs. So, finding a good running or workout underwear will always be wisdomful. All that you need to keep in mind is :
The Exercise Intensity
- If you do running sports then Running Underwear is a must have. It offers the required support, padding and fits snugly.
- If you are somebody who loves working out and lifting weights in the gym, then Workout Underwear is what you should choose. These would be less padded but would offer the required support for the organs.
The Right Fit
A good fit would ensure comfort during the physical activity and also avoid chafing. For example:
- The Running Underwear are nicely secured at the waist with an elastic. These are slightly loose around hips and tighter around legs and thighs.
- The Workout Underwear are adequately tight ensuring comparatively more freedom of movement and versatility.
- The Compression feature ensures that the sexual organs remain intact and in place without getting harmed by the intensity of the exercise. This also aids in pain relief and early injury recovery.
- For activewear, Wicking fabrics are the best. Hence, the underpants normally are manufactured in synthetic fibres that are light weight, moisture wicking, quick drying and comfortable . Along with this, they have Anti Microbial properties to prevent any odours.
These include the tops, t-shirts, jackets, shorts, leggings, joggers or capris that we wear during our exercises.
Like inner wear, outerwear also, must be chosen based on the kind of exercise being done and the garment’s comfort, fit, wicking and anti microbial abilities. Along with these already explained factors, a few other features must also be there in your outerwear and these are:
- Like in sunscreens, we have a SPF that measures a sunscreen’s effectiveness in protection against sunburn, in clothing, we have the UPF or the Ultraviolet Protection Factor.
- A UPF rated fabric provides protection against both Ultraviolet A and B rays. And if the manufacturers are to be believed, fabrics with a UPF range of 40 – 50 can actually provide protection against 98% of the UV rays hitting you.
- Hence, if you are involved in an activity or sport that requires you to be out there in the sun, a UPF rated activewear can be a good investment.
- If you are somebody, who loves to go out for exercises, in the early mornings or late evenings, then having a few reflective activewear pieces would be a good choice. This would ensure that you are visible to other people there on the road and add to your safety.
- Apart from inner wear, compression features are also being added to the outerwear like in shorts, leggings, t-shirts, tanks and socks. It definitely makes sense to incorporate these in your activewear, if your choice of activity is really intense and involves a lot of muscle stretching like in Performance Sports, HIITs, heavy and rigorous Workouts, Football, Basketball, Running etc.
- Choose an activewear piece that’s your size. Depending on your body shape and size, it is quite possible that you choose a medium top and a large bottom or vice versa (or any other combination out of Small, Medium, Large and so on) which is perfectly alright.
- Always ensure that if you have not chosen any compression outerwear (which are tighter) and opted for something that’s loose then it shouldn’t be so loose that it interferes with your physical activity.
Last but not the least, your shoes.
Choosing a good pair matters a lot because ultimately, it’s your feet that support your entire body weight during any physical activity. So, depending on the kind of activity you do, your footwear choice must change. Eg:
- Running Shoes come with cushioning so as to absorb any shock that comes with each running step. Thus, preventing any injuries to the knee, ankle and feet.
- On the contrary, Training Shoes do not offer any shock absorption but just support and provide stability so that heavy weights can be lifted.
- Shoes for sports like Soccer and Football have spiked soles so as to ensure better grip in the field.
- Shoes for Basketball are usually high ankled for providing support to ankles while jumping and shooting and are not thick soled.
- Shoes for Badminton, Tennis etc are designed for lateral movement, are supportive and have non-marking soles to avoid any harm to the playing surface.
- Hiking boots are rugged and tough, offer a good ground grip, cushioning, ankle support and are waterproof.
Now that you are aware of how you should choose the right activewear, why not apply this know how and get sportswear that fits your requirement.
Have fun shopping your next fitness gear !!!