Saturday 22 October 2016

Karl Henry's workout wardrobe essentials

The correct gear will not only ensure you're protected from the elements and potential injuries, it will motivate you to exercise for longer

Karl Henry

Published 25/08/2015 | 02:30

Karl Henry says the correct gear will motivate you to exercise for longer. Photo: Mark Nixon
Karl Henry says the correct gear will motivate you to exercise for longer. Photo: Mark Nixon

It makes such a big difference to be exercising in the correct clothing. It makes the session more comfortable, more enjoyable and will enable you to also work harder too. Yet when you are starting out or even training at a more advanced level, it can be very confusing to walk into a store and be bombarded by such choice. Let's take the confusion out of it and tell you exactly what you need to be looking for.

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1 Avoid cotton fabrics

One of the most common mistakes people make is wearing heavy cotton clothing when exercising. Not only is it heavy but it will get sticky and really uncomfortable when you begin to sweat or when it rains. Cotton socks can increase your risk of blisters too, especially when it rains. The general rule is to avoid full cotton fabrics for exercising.

2 Buy one good lightweight, breathable rain jacket

This is crucial. Especially in this country. With the right gear, you can conquer those rainy nights. The summer is a great time to buy these as many of the outdoor gear shops have summer sales. Stretch your budget and get the best one that you can as they last forever and will keep you dry and happy, no matter what the weather.

3 T-shirts and tops

Ideally you are looking for dri-fit fabrics or fabrics that are synthetic. These are great as they breathe better than cotton, they help to deal with sweat better and they are also lighter to wear. All sports brands have their own version and they all do a similar job, you will know by the feel of the fabric when you pick it up in the shop and these are a must-have for your wardrobe.

4 Shorts/running tights

Again when it comes to these, aim to go for the lighter fabrics that are dri-fit. They are far more comfortable and will help you work harder too. If you find that you get chafing on the inside of your legs when you train, most brands now stock shorts with lycra shorts within them, which resolves this problem.

In autumn and winter the running tights are an essential. I know that they may look a little embarrassing for us men, but they will help keep you warm and protected from the elements.

5 Gear for events

When going to events, an old school trick that I have learnt from experience is to wear some old warm clothing.

This will keep you nice and warm before you begin and then around one minute before the event starts, you can throw the clothing over the barrier at the start line. It's not an idea for your expensive gear but for the old ones that you don't mind not seeing again, it's a simple way to use them and keep warm too.

6Base layers

Base layers are the skin-tight clothing that you see athletes wearing under their kit or training gear. They are fantastic for both compression and heat, helping you to train better, recover better and stay warm. Some new versions also have the ability to keep you cool in the summer. I must say that I find them great for training all year round so don't be afraid to try them.

7 Sports bra

For women, a sports bra is essential, especially if your workout involves running or jumping. Breasts are stores of fat tissue and this tissue moves. The more it moves the greater the impact of that movement on your back and your neck and shoulder muscles.

The goal of a sports bra is to reduce this movement as much as possible and give you added support, helping to take the pressure off your back and shoulders and improving the posture of your workout.

8 Runners

Another crucial component of your workout, your footwear is essential to minimise joint and back issues during your session.

This comes from having your gait checked when you are buying new runners. Basically this ensures that you are in runners to match your foot type. Some people walk with a neutral gait, some walk on the outside of the foot and some on the inside of the foot.

When you have your gait checked, the trained assistant will ensure that you are given a runner to match your foot type. It normally involves you walking or jogging on a treadmill for a short period of time to allow the assistant to look at your gait. It's also free so you have nothing to fear! These simple tips will help you negotiate the world of buying sports clothing. It really isn't so scary and don't be afraid to ask the shop assistants for any help you may need.

Irish Independent

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