Dressing the Part: Health in Style

Studies have shown that what you wear to your workout may actually influence your performance. Here are my best tips on how to sweat in style.

If you look good, you feel good, and our choice in workout clothes is no exception to this rule. In a 2012 study, Northwestern University researchers proved just that. They coined the term, “enclothed cognition,” to describe how we tend to take on the persona associated with specific attire. Based off of this study, choosing the right workout clothing may actually trick our minds into exercising harder and for a longer time. Use these tips to find out how to dress the part:

Hot Yoga: Avoid cotton. The light fabric absorbs sweat and leaves you feeling soggy and uncomfortable, which can distract you from achieving your Zen. Stick to moisture-wicking, stretchy fabrics such as lululemon’s Luon or Athleta’s Velocitek. While these fabrics may be pricey, they are less transparent than some of the cheaper options, which will save you some embarrassment during downward dog.

Barre: In a barre class, the right pair of socks makes all the difference. Since the classes take place in a carpeted room, the studio typically asks you to remove your shoes and practice in socks. Socks with sticky rubber pads on the bottoms are best because they prevent your feet from sliding out from under you during a plank or a push-up.

Spinning: Form fitting clothing will be your best friend during a spin class. Baggier bottoms run the risk of getting stuck in the pedals’ quick rotations or bunching up during a sprint, which will likely cause uncomfortable chafing. Look for moisture-wicking fabric here, as well. For the more experienced spinner, look into purchasing your own pair of cycling shoes so you can save time and money on rentals.

CrossFit: If CrossFit is your thing, investing in the right pair of shoes is key. Your typical Nike running sneaks might be perfect for Ernie Davis’ gym, but they won’t help you get the most out of your CrossFit experience. Running shoes tend to have thick, squishy soles that raise your heels, but CrossFitters should look for a pair of sneakers with a flat sole that provide support while weight lifting. Knee-high and mid-calf socks will help prevent the skin on your lower leg and ankle from scratches and breaks during deadlifts, rope climbs and box jumps.

Outdoor Run: In Syracuse’s chilly weather, light layers are key. On top, start with a moisture-wicking base layer, then add a thin fleece for warmth. Depending on the weather, finish with a wind and water resistant light jacket or vest. A light waterproof vest keeps your core warm and dry without overheating you. A vest layer also offers you a pocket to store keys and I.D. cards while out and about. A baseball hat made from moisture-wicking material will also keep in body heat, and is a more practical approach than sunglasses to avoid sun glare.

Originally published in What the Health’s Spring 2015 Issue

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Hi! I'm Katie. I’m happiest when I’m exploring new places, lying on the beach or eating fresh foods (and if that were all to happen at once, I’d be set!).

2 thoughts on “Dressing the Part: Health in Style

  1. Great advice! If you don’t mind I’d like to add a few things.

    For strength training gym goers I suggest flat shoes for squats- if you shoes are unbalanced then your form is more likely to mess up, and your ankle flexibility will decrease. If you have wider feet I suggest looking into Adidas shoes and if your feet are narrow I suggest Nike. (Avoid those spring shoes when training under the bar). If you wear yoga pants get a size that fits and is also comfortable! Remember during your stretches yo want to be comfortable enough to maintain them, not constantly getting a wedgie!


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