Sure, stretching and drinking plenty of water are all important things to consider before a workout, but so should the clothes you decide to wear. Functionality should come before fashion (although it shouldn’t mean you should sacrifice the latter). First, be mindful of the type of exercise you intend on performing before committing to a certain outfit. Your workout clothes should depend on the type of exercise you plan on performing, whether it be running, bicycling, or yoga. Consider a few important factors like fabric, flexibility and durability when shopping for your next fitness wardrobe.
Fabrics & Flexibility
Look for moisture absorbing fabrics especially for high impact cardio exercises. Clothing made from polyester, nylon, spandex or any other synthetic fabric has typically more elasticity and durability than natural fabrics like cotton. Cotton absorbs moisture easily and can become uncomfortable throughout the course of a workout. With the green movement growing in popularity, organic cottons are praised as the better choice as it is grown and processed without the use of pesticides, insecticides, defoliants, or artificial fertilizers, or dioxin-producing bleach. Soy is another green fabric alternative. The bean’s fibers are spun into fabric that’s silk-like and sustainable. Its naturally wicking makes for soft strength, durability, and warmth retention (imagine wool but without the itch). Bamboo is the one of the newest green fabrics and increasing popular for its versatility. The fabric is naturally hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, odor resistant, breathable, and quick-drying.
Flexible fabrics are also important for comfortable movement. You want the clothes that you wear to facilitate your workout by staying out of the way and providing maximum movement, therefore you should find clothing that stretches and bends as far as you do.
Color & Durability
For exercise that requires contact like kickboxing, make sure you pick clothes that cover your body adequately and are made from durable materials that won’t tear or rip easily. For outdoor exercise in cold climates, consider wearing jackets and layers to protect you and to keep you warm. Runners and bikers should invest in workout clothes with reflective material or bright florescent colors so that they are visible in the dark or in poorly lit areas. Lighter colors are best for day in the hot climate, in order to reflect the strong rays from the sun.
Some of the best brands are those big names that have been around for years. Nike and Reebok design clothing tailored specifically to each sport or exercise to easily meet the needs of the customer. The most popular yoga clothing brands is Prana, sold at nationwide sporting stores, made of organic blends and reasonably priced.