Oprah’s Seven Biggest Workout Wear Mistakes that Women Make
After hearing all of the wonderful benefits that exercise has, you have finally made the decision to go to the gym for at least three times a week. Congratulations! Thankfully, you do not have to go out and purchase the top-of-the-line sneakers or a $60 workout tank, but you should avoid the mistake of wearing an old t-shirt and baggy sweats also. Oprah shares women’s biggest workout wear mistakes, and alternatives that make better choices.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking or riding a bike, every week PLUS muscle-strengthening on two or more days each week that works all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
For a one-stop shop for your exercise needs, joining a gym or the local YMCA is a great way to ensure that you have access to a variety of aerobic activities plus weights for strength training. But, many women tend to feel self-conscious about their bodies, particularly when first starting a workout program, and make mistakes such as wearing an oversized t-shirt or loose sweatpants. No, a gym shouldn’t feel like a runway for the latest fashion, but wearing the right clothes not only makes you feel more confident, but it can also avoid safety issues as well.
Cotton is Not the Best Material for Workout Wear
Cotton, unfortunately, is not the best choice because it absorbs sweat and doesn’t release it through evaporation. Wearing wet cotton against your skin can cause major irritation and chafing. Also, once you cool down, wearing damp clothes can cause chills. A better choice for exercise clothing are technologically-advanced fabrics, such as CoolMax or Dri-FIT that wick moisture away from the body.
Sometimes this type of material may feel too clingy and revealing for some women, so you may want to take the best of both worlds and wear a Dri-FIT tank underneath another, looser-fitting shirt.
Prevent Inadvertent “Flashing”
Tank tops are great to wear during exercise because, as they are form-fitting, they don’t tend to get in the way. But ensure that your top is properly fitted – at all angles! When you try on several brands in the store, be sure to imitate movements you might actually make at the gym. A tank may look cute while standing still, but could “malfunction” while doing pushups or leaning over during spin class.
Check the support of the top as well, particularly if you are a woman with large breasts. When choosing a sports bra, look for encapsulation styles (those with individual cups versus one large piece of fabric), wide cushioned straps to help redistribute the weight, and bras with wider rib bands to prevent riding up. Sometimes these “extra-support” tops may cost a little more, but they are well worth the price.
Say No to Nanosilver
Silver Nano is a trademark name of an antibacterial technology which uses silver nanoparticles to fight bacteria, mold and fungi. A few years ago, some companies began incorporating the product into their fitness apparel to keep sweaty gym clothes from smelling stale. Unfortunately, researchers at Arizona State University found that after just a few washings, the nanosilver-treated fabric lost about half its particles, which then washed out into the water, causing concern among some environmental groups.
It is much better to make it a habit of washing your gym clothes as soon as possible after wear. Blogger “PeanutButterRunner” says that a heaping spoonful of baking soda and about ¼ a cup of white distilled vinegar added to the wash along with the normal amount of detergent is a perfect smelly-gym-clothes odor solution.
Baggy Pants Hide Your “Sins” But are a Safety Concern
Long, baggy pants can catch on exercise machines such as stationary bikes or elliptical machines. For those not comfortable wearing shorts, try either slim-fitting long pants or capris.
Oh, and two words to the men who wear the colorful baggy MC-Hammer style workout pants – Just Don’t.
In an effort to avoid embarrassing panty lines, women may opt for thong underwear under their slim-fitting shorts or pants. But these are not the best solution for exercise, because when you sweat and move around, bacteria from the rectum can travel along the thong to the vagina, leading to infections in the vagina and/or the urinary tract. This type of underwear can also exacerbate an existing irritation. Chose instead a seamless pair of underwear that contains sweat-wicking material.
Hiding that Bum? Try a BootyWrap.
Instead of wearing a long-sleeve t-shirt or jacket around your waist to hide your behind from view, Oprah suggests a product known as the BootyWrap. Regular shirts and jackets can lead to unnecessary bulk which not only gets in your way, but also may appear to make you larger at the waist – probably not your intention at all.
The BootyWrap looks like a shirt, but it is actually a flat, bulk-less garment with sleeves and pockets to store keys, cash, lip balm etc. during a walk or run. Other options to hide your bum while working out are streamlined running skirts or skorts.
Choosing the Right Workout Clothes for your Body Type
Each of us has a unique body type, so we all can’t look good in the same style of clothes. Fitness Magazine offers tips for the best styles to show off your best parts:
For Pear Shapes: Wear light colors on top to draw eyes up and away from your thighs. Flared pants may help balance and lengthen your shape, but remember the safety concerns above if you are working out on equipment versus outdoors. Do not wear bottoms with strips down the sides of the legs which will only make your hips seem fuller.
For Rectangle Shapes: Create the illusion of curves with tops that have ruching along the sides and pants that have a pop of color at the hips. A sports bra with a little padding can help with creating curves as well. Do not wear one color head to toe – it will make you look even more “blocky”.
For Apple Shapes: Opt for a loose top that ties or cinches which will define your middle yet conceal a tummy. Fitted capris can flatter toned legs, but avoid flared bottom pants which will throw off your proportions by adding bulk.
For Hourglass Shapes: Choose tops with a V or scoop neck and detailing near your midsection to show off your trim waist. Don’t hide behind baggy clothing, which will only make you look larger.
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