What do you wear when you exercise?
Is it a falling-apart T-shirt and a pair of old shorts? Or do you opt for the latest in sports compression wear, in a bid to boost performance and recovery?
While some of us cringe at cafes brimming with activewear-clad joggers, it does pay to spend on what you wear while exercise.
Why? Because your active wear has an effect on your mental and physical sports performance, Jon Michail, CEO of Image Group International, told The New Daily.
“For elite athletes and weekend warriors alike donning a sports team uniform, or the latest high-tech active wear, sets an expectation for winning,” he said.
“The first thing that matters in life is your mindset, and if wearing the right sports apparel boosts your confidence and positively changes your mindset, why wouldn’t you do it to get an edge?”
He gives the examples of the Socceroos winning the 2015 Asian Cup final in a year when they were considered underdogs, and Chloe Esposito winning gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“Wearing that uniform with the flag and brand that is specifically Australia pushed these athletes to another level,” Mr Michail said.
“This shows what we wear does have an impact on physical performance – especially because we’ve been conditioned to think that sport and exercise is part of our identity.”
Comfort versus trends
Regardless of which celebrity might be endorsing the latest oversized sweatshirts or open-back tanks, comfort and practicality must be prioritised over the latest trends.
“Even though human beings are visual animals, and the Western world is about aesthetic power and influence, comfort is essential because it impacts on sports performance,” Mr Michail said.
So when deciding which sports apparel might suit your chosen fitness pursuit best, there are three things to consider:
1. Design – is it practical for the type of movement your body needs to make? Remember – comfort and agility help boost physical performance.
2. Cut – is it suited to your body type, which could be average, wedge, hour-glass, triangle, thin or oval?
3. Fabrics – check the technical aspects of the materials such as breathability. Is it odourless, UV protective, lightweight, reflective and flexible?
Why you should stretch your budget
There’s no doubt sportswear is a booming sector of the apparel industry.
In fact, research into the global sports apparel market shows it’s expected to garner almost $185 billion by 2020.
Mr Michail said while the increase in brands offering sports apparel lines has increased, which means there is more to choose from, stretching your budget to get the best you can afford will make a difference to your mindset and performance at the gym or on the field.
“Even spending 10 per cent more on fitness wear than you would have in the past could mean you are able to get the latest in fabric technology. At the very least, you’re going to look in the mirror and feel good about yourself.”