Not all apparel fit for fitness
PAMELA GLINSKIComfort, support, proper fit, and the breathability of the material that fitness apparel is made from are key factors in choosing what to wear when you're running, cycling or exercising.
Published: September 1, 2012
Published: September 1, 2012
"Technology has come so far for workout apparel," said Charlotte Bauder, personal fitness trainer and director of marketing at Fitness Together.
Bauder said that whether it is a name-brand outfit or something purchased from a local department store, the most important thing is getting a moisture wicking material, like polyester, that pulls sweat away from the skin toward the outside of the fabric.
Many athletic apparel manufacturers are producing shirts, gym shorts, pants, socks, and other sportswear using specially woven polyester blends that only hold about 0.4 percent of the moisture your body exudes.
"It keeps you dry and keeps you cooler," Bauder said.
Garments made of cotton, while breathable, actually absorb sweat that can cause embarrassing sweat stains. Bauder added that wearing cotton underclothing during strenuous workouts could cause feminine hygiene problems.
In most cases, clothing fit is a matter of individual preference and style. Although stretchy, loose fabrics might be comfortable for activities like Pilates or yoga classes, pants need to fit closer to the body for cyclists concerned about material that could get tangled up in pedals.
Bauder noted that it is important to make sure to pick a great pair of tennis shoes with an accurate fit to avoid injury.
For an accurate fit in a running shoe, "go to an actually running store like fitniche.com," said retired Avon Park track coach Chet Brojek. He added that local stores like Foot Locker and Hibbett Sports also can provide a good fit in name brand shoes.
Running shoe stores not only check size, width and arch, they can do video gait analysis and pressure analysis to better fit foot shape and biomechanics.
Fit niche, a Lakeland store, does free evaluations and sells shoes in Sebring every six months at Fitness Together, which is located at 927 Mall Ring Road behind Lakeshore Mall.
Use common sense with new shoes, said Brojek. "You never put on a brand new pair of shoes and go for a ten-mile run."
Brojek added that phasing in new shoes also is essential with the glove-like footwear that became popular after Christopher McDouglall's book, "Born to Run," was published. McDouglall's book advocated a minimalist barefoot running style. Brojek warned that most people have "tender feet" and could risk injury to the Achilles heel if they don't transition to the flat shoes over a period of time.
Socks are another factor in comfort. Wicking materials will help prevent athlete's foot and shoe odor, said Bauder. She added that there are socks on the market that have a tab that will lie over the back of a shoe to prevent blisters.
"Comfort is the key. If you're not comfortable you're not going to be happy with what you are doing," said Bauder.