Once, workout clothes were simply clothes you wore that were comfortable enough to work out in, but today, workout clothes are expected to be and do rather more. With the latest advances in fitness wear and wearable technology, workout clothes can improve performance and actually help to make you fitter.
Before you rush out and buy all that your local sport shop has to offer in terms of the latest fitness wear and wearable technology, consider first the type of exercise and fitness regimes you take part in. Much of the latest fitness clothing is sport-specific, designed in such a way that the items move according to pre-defined movements, and are made out of fabric that will help the wearer to remain comfortable even when getting hot and sweaty. For example, if yoga is your thing, your ideal clothing will be spandex and, perhaps surprisingly, polyester wear, as these will give you the freedom you need to perform bends. If, on the other hand, you are a runner, you should opt for moisture-wicking fabrics that draw your sweat away from your body and help to keep you dry.
Let us take a look at some of the latest fabrics used in fitness clothing. Bamboo is a great alternative to synthetic materials such as polyester because it is light, soft, allows the skin to breathe, and keeps moisture from the skin. In addition, bamboo protects your skin from ultraviolet light, so you can perform your yoga practice in the sun without having to worry about sun cream. Back on synthetics, nylon is used for sculpted tank tops and leggings and is soft, breathable on your skin, and dries quickly. It moves easily with the body, so is good for a range of different exercises, from running and aerobics to sport.
What about cotton, you may ask? Is this not the best fabric all round? Well, you might be tempted to think so, but while cotton is soft, light, and breathable, it also holds moisture, which means that your intensive workout could leave you wearing what amounts to a soggy dishcloth. However, cotton is less likely to cause sweaty odors than similar synthetic materials, so it may still be suitable for your workout.
If your activity takes you outside, then you will need clothing that helps to protect you from the elements. The best fabric for this is Gore-Tex, which is used in a diverse range of sports clothing, from running shoes to outerwear jackets. A synthetic material, Gore-Tex offers protection against both wind and rain but also allows the skin to breathe, making it a perfect fabric for all outdoor sports and exercises.
Then there is the clothing that helps to prevent injury and improve performance. For many, this means compression wear, and the range of clothing available includes compression socks, compression leggings, and compression shirts. These items work by providing compression to the body so that circulation is stimulated and improved both during and post-workout, leaving muscles less stiff and sore. Also, if muscles have been damaged during a fitness workout, compression wear is thought to make recovery times shorter.
There is also some hope on the horizon for people who through lack of motivation, illness, or just plain laziness are not as active as they should be. For these people, a new kind of clothing is being developed that stimulates the muscles when stationary. The clothing basically works through muscle resistance to tone your muscles and burn calories even when you are sitting down. Each item of clothing is fitted with a resistive band that, according to the manufacturers, makes the wearer feel as if, when they move, they are moving through water, thereby making the body work harder.
What about wearable technology? This is being referred to as electronic clothing with some pieces involving miniaturized sensors and microchips. The point of this development is that clothing is able to monitor the body as a person exercises, such as registering the heart rate and blood pressure, as well as keeping a technological eye on injuries. This is still in the developmental stage, but it is thought that this type of clothing could well be on the market within only two years.
Workout clothing has come far in just the last few years, so you can be sure of being able to find the most appropriate clothing to suit your fitness needs, as well as it keeping you aware of your body’s condition and aiding in its recovery.