While it may not seem like a big deal, your fitness gear can be an important part of your athletic performance and success.
As big a part of my life as the IT world is, it’s not the only thing I think about. I also happen to be an avid fitness enthusiast! I believe exercise and wellness are big parts of leading a happy, healthy, and successful life, and I’d like to pass that on to you.
In this series, I’ll share simple and effective tips and insight for leading a healthier life. Keep these in mind, and you’ll be surprised by how soon you feel a difference!
This week I’ll be sharing a few tips to help you choose running or workout gear that can enhance your performance, and keep you comfortable and motivated.
Your fitness wardrobe might seem like an unimportant part of your overall fitness routine, but it’s worth putting some serious thought into. It’s not so much about looking good — although there is no shortage of options if that’s something that’s important to you — as it is about keeping you comfortable and cool, and most importantly, not hindering your performance.
Some of these considerations are obvious ones, especially for a runner. Having shoes that fit well, offer the right amount of support, and will hold up under both frequent use and exposure to the elements is hugely important to your running routine. Lousy footwear isn’t just uncomfortable; it can slow you down and put you at risk for injuries.
Good shoes can be a little pricey, but they’re an investment you need to make if you plan to be a regular runner. Having the right level of durability, cushioning, and performance can make a massive difference, and what you need will vary depending on your routine, fitness level, and future fitness aspirations. This is one purchase you should be making from an athletics store, not a department store. It’s also a purchase you’ll want to make with input from the store’s employees – it’s their job to know what you need, and help you find it.
The right shoes are just as important for your workouts at the gym. You’re still going to want good support and cushioning, especially if your workouts involve high-impact activities like jumping rope or running on the treadmill. You need to protect your feet and your joints in order to avoid injury.
Once you’ve got your footwear sorted out, you’ll want to think about the rest of your gym or running outfit. Again, this is all about performance and not looks. High-end workout gear tends to be as fashionable as it is functional, though you’ll often find yourself paying more for these items than you probably need to. Feeling like you look good in your gear can give you a confidence boost, which can lead to a better workout, but you should always put function first.
Loose fitting clothing gives you a better range of movement and helps to keep you cool by not trapping sweat and body heat against your skin. If you prefer to wear something more fitted, you’ll want to make sure the items are made of light and breathable material. Synthetic, sweat-wicking fabric can help keep you from overheating, and while cotton tends to absorb sweat and leave you feeling weighed down, it’s still a much better option than fabrics that don’t breathe at all.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure you have a few different options readily available to you that are appropriate for the day’s weather. Whatever your “style” is, invest in multiples of the same items. If you find a pair of leggings or a shirt that you really like, consider grabbing a bunch of them. Take advantage of a sale, or if the item isn’t expensive, pick up a few of them at once.
The key is to have enough clothing in your workout wardrobe to save you having to do laundry repeatedly throughout the week in order to keep up with your fitness routine. No one wants to wear the same gross — and let’s be honest, smelly — clothes from the day before. You won’t enjoy it, and neither will the people around you.
Tempting as it can be to throw on some old sweats and a cheap pair of running shoes, if you’re serious about reaching your fitness goals and building a routine you’ll stick with long-term, investing in the right workout gear is every bit as important as any other decision you’ll make. If you look good and feel good, your workouts and runs will be a lot more enjoyable.