Can Heavy Clothing Be Worn During Workouts or Strenuous Walks & Runs?

Wearing light, breathable exercise attire provides comfort during your workout.

Wearing light, breathable exercise attire provides comfort during your workout.

When you're getting ready to hit the gym, take a brisk walk or jog around the block, ignore the heavy, bulky clothing in your closet and pick an outfit that is lighter weight. Although no workout rules prevent you from wearing heavy clothing, you'll likely find that doing so makes your exercise more miserable than wearing the right gear.

Ideal Choices

Regardless of the workout you choose to follow, light, breathable clothing provides more comfort and benefits than heavy clothing. Heavy clothing made of materials such as cotton will trap your sweat, which can lead to a cold, clammy feeling during your workout, walk or run. Breathable fabrics wick away the sweat, which keeps your body comfortable even if you sweat excessively. Heavy clothing may also cause irritation to your skin, especially when it's wet.

Outerwear

If you plan to take a strenuous walk or run outdoors during inclement weather, the shorts and light tank top that you wear to the gym might not be enough to keep you warm. Instead of bundling up in a heavy parka, however, look for breathable athletic outerwear and layer items of clothing so you can take off or put on layers to suit the temperature. Outerwear jackets and pants are made of lightweight material that allows your skin to breathe.

Range of Motion

While clothing that wicks away your sweat may increase your level of comfort during exercise, it might not seem important if you don't sweat profusely. Consider that heavy clothing can be not just bulky, but also restrictive. If you wear a heavy hooded sweatshirt during a step aerobics class, for example, your arms' range of motion will be limited by the garment. Proper athletic attire often includes elastic fibers that don't restrict your range of motion.

Sweating and Weight Loss

Some people might believe that if they wear thick clothing during a workout, it will help them sweat more profusely and thus lose weight. This belief is true, but it's a misconception that the amount you sweat relates to the number of calories you'll burn during the workout. When you sweat, you lose water weight, which you'll rapidly replace upon rehydrating after your workout. Heavy clothing may also increase your core temperature and lead to health risks such as dehydration and overheating.

 

About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.

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