Exercising in the right gear is essential to most sports. You may be able to get away with running in old t-shirts and gym shorts at first, but sooner or later, once the bug has bitten and you are entering races, you will need a new wardrobe.
Swimming is different – most gyms will not let you swim if you do not have a swimming costume at the very least. But goggles and a swimming cap are also important accessories and the same principle applies as with running, the more you do it, the fussier you will become about the gear you do it in.
Why the right gear matters
Apart from the physical advantage to exercising in the right gear for the right sport, which generally means less chaffing and more comfort during and after the exercise, believe it or not there is a psychological aspect to wearing the right gear.
When you’re standing at the start line of a race, or even when you’re standing at the pool at the gym waiting for a lane to become available, the chances are you’ll feel much more confident in your ability to run/swim/bike if you feel the part.
And generally, at that point, you’ve trained the best you could so physically you are prepared, but if you’re not dressed the part and feeling confident in your gear, that niggle could affect the outcome.
Moisture management gear review
I was asked to review a pair of running shorts and a moisture management running shirt from Second Skins. I was pleasantly surprised.
The shirts, one long sleeved for cooler days, and one a vest, worked so well for both running and cycling that I barely felt I had worked up a sweat – until of course I looked in the mirror and saw how red my face was.
Moisture management gear is fast becoming the go-to gear of exercise enthusiasts, and given the high temperatures a summer anywhere in South Africa can reach, it’s not hard to see why.
They absorb the moisture (sweat) from your skin as you exercise and this helps keep you cool so you don’t feel like you’re over-heating while you’re exercising. Which makes exercising a lot more comfortable when you don’t have a sweat-laden t-shirt clinging to your body.
They really are worth investing in.
The Second Skin shorts were typical running shorts with the netting inside which stops the creep. Meaning that you can run without the shorts creeping further between your thighs – which really disrupts a run.
I also tried out a swimming costume and goggles of Second Skins and again I was impressed. Having just spent a good R300 on a pair of goggles at a sports shop which turned out to be rather useless I had despaired of ever finding a god pair of goggles to protect my sensitive eyes from the pool’s chlorine and the sea’s salt. Fortunately however, the Second Skins goggles worked like a charm.
They were also very comfortable and didn’t make my eyes feel like they were being sucked out of their sockets the way some goggles do.
While the right gear really does make a difference in your confidence on the road or in the gym, it’s not essential and should certainly not be used as an excuse not to exercise.
That said, a lot of exercise gear doesn’t have to break the bank. It pays to shop around and above all else, just make sure you’re comfortable in what you wear.
(Amy Froneman, Health24, September 2010)