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How to Choose the Best Workout Clothes for Mind-Body Fitness Routines

Choosing the right workout clothing can make or break your mind-body workout. Both men and women should wear a sweatshirt or other top to and from a workout, even if it’s in your living room. Usually as you cool down, your body core temperature starts to drop and you may want to put on another layer to stay comfortable.

One thing both men and women want to avoid: Pants that aren’t elastic in the waist. Deep breathing exercises and other movements can often push the limits of non-elastic middles, plus the waistband can cut into you and inhibit your freedom of movement.

Aside from that, gender differences dictate clothing differences.

Workout tops for men

For men, this is easy. A T-shirt.

Two ways to get around the suffocation thing:

  • Tuck the T-shirt into your shorts or sweatpants (assuming you can get it to stay there as you stretch and reach in all directions).

  • Wear a snug-fitting tank top or a stretchy exercise top.

Workout tops for women

For women, what to wear on top is a little more complicated simply because women have more options. Plus, fashion trends can mandate all kinds of things as being right or wrong, particularly when it comes to breast support and how it looks. Of course, how it looks is moot if you’re just in your living room by yourself.

First consideration is snugness: You want to be able to move, and to be able to see your alignment and body placement for better review and correction. Of course, in some methods, for example primarily the Chinese ones such as Qigong or Tai Chi that keep you mostly standing or sitting, you may actually feel better in loose garb. Look at some options:

  • Sports bra: Just fine in many cases if you’re comfortable baring your belly. Sometimes lying on the floor, a mat, or using one of the balls or other gadgets in some methods can pull on or stick to exposed skin though. And if you’re in a public gym, it’s considered bad manners to let your sweat drip all over the machinery or mats.

  • T-shirt: Do try to tuck the T-shirt in so it stays put better, or choose one that isn’t quite one of those one-size-fits-none humongous models. You can also start your workout with a T-shirt and sports bra on, then take the tee off as you get into the bending and twisting. For the Chinese arts, you may just then want to leave the baggy top on.

  • Unitard (short or long): This moves into an entirely new realm of revealing, head-to-toe, skin-tightness. But, there’s a good reason many instructors wear these: They not only move with you, but stay put. No hiking up at the waist (or down at the waist) as when you have on two pieces. No need to be pulling and tugging as you work out. It just stays.

Bottoms for men

Basically, wear whatever you’re comfortable in, such as baggy sweats (as long as they stay put at the ankle), running or other workout pants, or the loose-fitting drawstring pants made for many mind-body workouts.

Many men aren’t comfortable with tights on, especially in a public place, and that’s okay. Consider them as an option.

One word of advice: Please, please don’t wear short shorts if you are going to a public place. The baggy legs or loose liners make for some, er, revealing moments when you move or bend.

Bottoms for women

Think snug for some of the methods. Tights — short or long — are ideal. If snug doesn’t feel right, then go with the same recommendations as for men. Try sweats, workouts pants, or drawstring-waist pants.

The dilemma of short tights or shorts versus long tights or shorts is not easy to answer. Usually either will do. It may be more a matter of personal taste, because having your legs stick to a mat isn’t much of a problem.

Consider a unitard or catsuit for some methods. No crawling up, no hiking down, no slipping and catching. It really could be the best of all worlds.

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