Column 31 - What to Wear!?

Original publication date: April 4, 1984

If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you do good. A saying that has women in general, at the mercy of the clothing industry. Fitness is not just push-ups or sit-ups. It's fashion.

The women's department in most large department stores stock several racks with exercise suits, fashionable tights and legwarmers, and a rainbow of colours of track suits. Most of them not designed to exercise in. The outfits are not cheap either. A lot of stores, though they often carry poor quality gear, charge as if they have the last Jane Fonda look-a-like suit left in the world.

However (there's always a however), if you know you are exercising (that is to feel good), you should know the saying should read, "If you feel good, you look good. If you look good, you do good." No matter what, you cannot possibly look your best when you don't feel good. Exhaustion, nervous energy, weakness, excess weight, heart or blood pressure problems, etc., all show themselves whether you're wearing your Merle Norman face and Alfred Sung suit or not.

It you don't want to fall for the big fashion hype with regards to fitness, what should you wear? That's a question 80 per cent of the women ask who initially register for my class. I stand corrected. The question is usually, "What do the other women wear?"

Women are often so peer-pressured in fashion, it would be utterly horrifying to be the only one in shorts and a t-shirt, when the rest of the class is wearing their sexiest leotard suit. Horrifying enough to make some women go out and buy a suit just to be in vogue. Whether they feel comfortable wearing it is often not the issue. Although it should be. Comfort should be the most important guide- line when deciding wnat to wear to exercise in. This may be especially difficult for women who wear very few or no casual outfits. Not everyone is accustomed to wearing jeans and a sweat shirt.

If you feel comfortable wearing an exercise suit, buy a good one from the start. It will wear nicer, wash nicer, and last longer. Two name brands that really stand up to their name are Danskin and Capezio.

If you prefer, shorts and a t-shirt or sweat shirt are good to exercise in because they give comfort and are usually loose enough to allow for movement. Nylon shorts, like most joggers wear, are really the best. The short allows for plenty of leg movement and the nylon material is light and non-restrictive. The shirt should be cotton, so it will absorb the sweat. There's nothing worse than sweat trickling down your back for an entire class. You should never wear clothing to try to make your body perspire more. Any fluid losses which occur during exercise, especially if large, should be replaced as soon as possible by drinking fluids. Excessive sweating does not provide any special health benefits nor is it related to losses of body fat. Heavy sweat losses can lead to dehydration and serious illness. Sweating is a natural process. Just let it happen.

Socks should be cotton as well. If the sweat is not absorbed, the foot could slide around inside the shoe causing blisters and sores, impeding your jogging technique and hampering your exercising.

Take into consideration that once finished exercising, your body begins to cool down. The air is still cold outside. Put a track suit over top of your exercise suit or shorts to keep your body warm until you get home to a warm (not hot) shower or bath.

Copyright 2021 K.L. McCluskey, all rights reserved.