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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Clothes Make the Woman

When it comes to exercise, it's crucial to have the right equipment -- right down to what you do and don't wear.

I've learned this firsthand. Shoes that are too wide or too long rub blisters on your feet and can cause ingrown toenails. The only thing worse than shoes that are too big, in my opinion, is clothes that are too big.

Let me explain. When you're sporting a less-than-perfect physique, it's only natural to want to hide that in baggy sweats and shirts at the gym. However, those fabrics aren't usually breathable and all the loose fabric can impede your mobility.

On a WLS post-op, however, loose fabrics can even be dangerous. Unless you've had reconstructive surgery, there is a fair amount of extra skin with which you need to contend. Depending on your rate of loss, starting weight and body type, your excess skin can be concentrated in one area or spread all over. Regardless, you're either going to have loose, floppy skin around the abdomen, thighs, upper arms, buttocks, or back -- or a combination of some or all of those areas.

Loose clothing combined with intense exercises and explosive moves (e.g. jump rope, burpees, etc.) can cause heat rashes, skin tears and even blistering. There is nothing worse than finding yourself increasing in physical stamina only to be hamstrung by a skin injury that sidelines you for a few days.

With that in mind, it's wise to invest in quality workout apparel, particularly compression clothing. Under Armour is known as offering the best compression around. I picked up a pair of the Women's UA Authentic 17" Capris at Sports Authority over the weekend. At first, I wasn't impressed. They don't feel any tighter than the pants I was wearing before. But after one workout, the difference was impossible to ignore. First of all, there was no pain at any point of my workout from skin pulling or tearing. Second, I don't even feel like I've broken a sweat. When I got home to change, my entire lower  body was dry -- that's how good the fabric is at wicking away moisture.

I think UA is a fairly affordable brand and worth the money (my capris were about $38) spent, especially if it's going to save me from visits to the doctor and prescription ointments.

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