April 30, 2012 Leave a comment
So everyone is putting together their fitness plans, picking out their next race, and preparing their training schedule. When putting thought into your goals, don’t forget to give careful thought about your wardrobe as well. That does not mean if the pink shoes will match the shorts and headband but more so if you have the right apparel for the hot and humid days ahead of us. Save your cotton tanks your casual outings with family and friends and make sure the shorts and shirts you run in are technical moisture management apparel that will make your workouts much more comfortable and less risk of chafing and have wet, heavy clothing sticking to your skin the last hour of a workout!
So you ask, why technical apparel. What’s so great about it?
Basically technical apparel is what some refer to as moisture management fabric which pulls sweat from the skin and spreads it out into the garment so that it will dry faster. This description is called “wicking” but understand that even cotton (the frowned upon fabric among athletes) wicks (pulls) moisture faster than synthetics, BUT it holds onto the moisture not allowing the moisture to spread out. This causes wet clothing they will cling while working out. Technical garments take much longer to saturate and will dry more quickly never giving you a heavy, soaking wet feeling.
So what’s the big deal about a heavy, wet piece of clothing while working out? Aren’t we suppose to be drenched is your next thought right? Well, this feeling/effect can cause other problems.
- In cold temperatures working out in cotton and having the layer of apparel closest to your skin get wet with little ability to dray can cause hypothermia.
- When cotton is super-saturated, it has the effect on your skin that lying in a bath tub does—you (your skin) becomes prune-like. This is bad because when you add heat and movement to your already sensitive skin, the likelihood of blistering, chafing, or callusing is very high.
Polyester and nylon may have a bad rap with casual clothing, but for the an athlete they are the fabric of choice. There are plenty of advantages to polyester and nylon. It’s light, durable, smooth against the skin, and has tremendous moisture managing properties. It keeps you dry, and keeps you from chafing and blistering. Polyester is a very light and thin material, so it can be molded and fit into many types of clothing. It can be a light singlet or a t-shirt as easily as it can be included in a heavy winter “shell” jacket. Due to polyester’s great moisture managing properties it will keep you dry, which keeps you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter—all without causing skin abrasions that you end up nursing long after the chafing happened. If you are trying to pick between the two fabrics (which many times the apparel will be a blend of both) nylon is more durable (typically) and holds the color in the fabric after various washes a little better.
Last, when selecting your fitness apparel, make sure you purchase your apparel the correct size. Wearing shorts that are larger than you need can cause chafing simply due to having too much fabric between your legs and causing it to rub against your skin when exercising. Technical garments work best when fit closer to the skin but as more manufacturers evolve new technology has allowed for the fit to be looser and still be effective for moisture management, warmth and cooling.
CK SPORTS carries various brands of technical apparel for both men and women. The brands range from Pearl Izumi, Brooks, Under Armour, Mizuno and much more. Visit our store and our staff will help you select the best fit for your body type and exercise needs. When making these purchases you will want to take care of your apparel since it is an investment. Unlike cotton fabric, technical fabric does costs a little more. If you wash/dry it correctly, it will last a long time and remain effective.