Clothes for exercise
Looking around my exercise room, I was amazed at the creativity some students have with exercise clothes. I see every kind of outfit you can imagine: last year’s track shoes, son’s ski racing suit, rubber waist wraps and sweatsuits that haven’t been out of the closet since the Titanic sank.
Body wear for exercise is a wide field, sometimes leaning toward the bizarre. There are long pants, short pants, shorts, last year’s models, today’s fads, tracksuits and bathing suits.
And let’s not forget the thong.
There are clothes with straps that fall down, snaps that unsnap and strapless outfits. All this comes with a matching headband.
When doing strenuous exercise, a headband is a necessity. It keeps the hair and sweat from irritating the eyes. Headbands come in all types, too, including hats, towels and scarves. When wet, they provide an evaporative cooling mechanism. And when it gets really warm, I see sweatbands on arms.
If your exercise gear is old, it’s usually made out of good absorbent material. However, if it smells like mothballs, it won’t do you any good when you’re deep breathing.
The new, lighter sweat fabric that allows you to stay warm while wet is a great advantage. It absorbs sweat then cools you as you move. New exercise students tend to overdress to hide less-than-perfect bodies. And of all the problems that a new exercise student has, the one most often mentioned besides sore muscles is getting too hot.
Waist wraps are not new. They come in a variety of shapes from the waist to the thighs. They look like rubber tires and probably smell like them, too. While you work out, they cause the tissues in the wrapped area to lose water and thus make you feel thinner until the water gain builds up in the tissues. As you can tell, I am not an advocate of body wraps.
The new material for full-body leotards is helpful for body areas that require support and warmth during exercise. Legs, especially in the calf and hamstring areas, need the additional help this material provides. It is free-moving, stretches in all directions, and allows the body to breathe and evaporate sweat properly.
Most of my students wear what makes them most comfortable. As long as it stretches, supports where needed, allows the body to cool itself, and looks decent, it doesn’t matter what you encase your body in when you exercise. The whole idea is to sweat.
n Jerry Vance is owner of The Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Senior Center.