One of the things I’ve learned in my time in the fitness world and being active is that clothing can make or break your fitness goals, sometimes in ways that are not necessarily obvious. Here are some of my recommendations:
- Moisture wicking clothing. Basically non-cotton, anything which will not hang on you like a sagging, soaking mess. The first time I did a cardio workout in moisture wicking clothing vs cotton was like a whole new world opened up to me. It’s SO much more comfortable, especially if you’ll be dealing with temperature extremes. Also for any winter workout this is essential for your health, and can help prevent hypothermia.
- Wear. The. Right. Shoes. This will depend on your body build and your feet in addition to what type of activity you’re doing. You may need to experiment a bit, especially in the beginning. If you’re doing a lot of walking and/or plyo, you want good arch support and shock absorption. I recommend cross trainers for that. Also, moisture wicking socks–you’ll thank me later. Also, you’ll want to get your exercise sneakers anywhere between half a size and a size bigger than your normal footwear, ESPECIALLY if you’re either walking or running long distances. It may be worth going to an athletic store and getting fitted for either a running or a walking shoe. Otherwise, I’ve found that cross trainers are the best for exercising in. Believe it or not, the Reebok Easytones are hands down, the most comfortable walking and exercising shoe I’ve ever owned. My feet are close to flat and I needed something with good cushioning support. I’ve walked 39 miles in them, done programs like the Insanity workout in them–they are awesome!
- Clothing doesn’t have to be expensive, but I’ve found you get what you pay for. Some of the more inexpensive but good buys can come from clothing manufacturers like Champion, which you can pick up at Target. If you decide to splurge on a place like Lululemon, I’ve found that a) it fits better b) lasts longer c) is more comfortable and d) fits better. As always, your mileage may vary.
- If you’re like me, then you also have additional concerns about material: lack of animal products, particularly leather. This is especially the case with shoes. For running I’ve used New Balance and Reebok, specifically the Reebok Zig. I LOVE the Zig! I just got them a few months ago and have been running in them. You can also find vegan and vegan themed clothing at places like VeganEssentials.com and VeganProteins.com. I’m lucky enough to have a vegan shoes and accessories store near me in Cambridge, so when in doubt just look online or elsewhere, read labels, and talk to other vegans about what they use.
- For events with questionable weather, temperature-wise or otherwise, dressing in layers and shedding as you go is a good choice. I’ve done this for my lengthy walking events and for running outdoors in times other than the summer.