9 Reasons Why You Should be Wearing Exercise Tights
What you exercise in is often a very personal choice, but if you just followed the advertisements you could begin to believe that you have to be an elite athlete under 30 and have a perfectly proportioned physique before you might venture into the right kind of gear.
I’m here to tell you that despite being marketed to the young and beautiful, exercise tights are the hidden weapon of the 50 plus woman and you need to be wearing them.
Why should you be wearing them instead of your shorts or jeans……
The short answer is.. because they are designed with that specific purpose in mind. As such theywill make your exercise routine, no matter what it is, more pleasurable.
They have lots of creature comforts such as
- Little pockets to put your phone or IPod in, so you can listen to my Podcast!
- Flat seams to stop chafing
- Fabric that wicks away sweat, important whether you are out in hot or cold weather
- Generally nice wide waistbands that don’t roll and pucker
- Ventilation panels in appropriate spots, such as the crutch.
- Long ones sometimes have zips for a good fit, although not my personal favourite. Being short means they are always too long and so the zips only annoy me.
- Reflective detailing so if you are in low light you can be seen.
- They can be season specific so very, very light ones for hot weather and lined ones to keep out the wind for cold conditions.
- Some of them also come with specific support panels that can help with muscle wobble and therefore reduce muscle fatigue.
I think the best thing about exercise tights is the massive reduction in thigh chafing for those of us who have less than stick pin thighs. This one thing alone can be the difference between walking fast and actually getting a benefit from your exercise, or not.
A Little Note on Compression Wear
Compression Wear is where the tights, socks or shirts, have been manufactured to give a tight supportive fabric designed to reduce muscle movement and improve blood flow. The manufacturing science says that as a result this reduces muscle fatigue, so you can exercise longer. That it reduces lactic acid build up and therefore reduces muscle soreness, and that it improves recovery times from hard workout sessions.
Most of the scientific journals have not found conclusive evidence that this works. However, it seems to be a very subjective thing and those people that use it love it and feel they get some benefits out of it.
They do feel good to exercise in as the less wobble just makes you feel different.
Personally I use them for my hard runs as I like to try and get as much done with as little damage as possible and this seems to work for me. I also use them after a triathlon as a recovery aid. I will also use them all the time if I am carrying any kind of niggle.
I think for older women they are worth it if only for their protective benefits, if you can afford them. Oh and they are also very tight and can be hard to get on and off.
MyTips on Buying Tights
There are some very expensive tights on the market, no doubt about that. But there are high quality low cost tights as well with all the same features.
Just like ordinary clothing there are new designs and colours released across the year by the various sporting brands. So just like other clothes they have specials and end of season sales. You can get enormous savings on very fancy brands, particularly on line, if you don’t mind wearing last season’s colours.
My personal favourites are.......
Wiggle an online sports store who, along with big names, also have their own brand which is excellent very well priced and generally very well made.
Lululemon they have fabulous waist bands and you can buy different lengths as well as different waist bands. I have also found them to be incredibly long wearing and generous in sizing.
Mizuno because their fabrics are so light you feel like you are not wearing anything. They are a bit on the small size though so be careful.
Running Bare, I just like their cool vibe, they are also really long lasting and have good sizing particularly for larger ladies.
Bodiccea; Ally Muller and the team there have designed some great non muffin top waist bands for their tights, as well as having antimicrobial properties in their fabrics. These are absolutely fabulous and they come in some great designs.
6 Top Tips for Choosing the Best Water Bottle for You.
No matter where you are in the world or what season of the year you are in you are at some stage during your fitness journey going to need a refillable water bottle. Drinking water while you work out is vital for keeping you in good physiological shape so you can do what you need / want to do. Unless you are incredibly wealthy you would need to buy an enormous amount of bottled water, which could send you broke. It is also more environmentally friendly to use refillable bottles.
Off you go to the shop, or online and there you are faced with thousands of options. Not just colour and price but lids, materials, size, openings and spouts. Not to mention thermal and collapsible options.
How do you decide which one is for you, and what are the do’s and don’ts of using and caring for your own portable fountain?
1: First and foremost, the bottle needs to match the activity you are doing. This is important because it dictates the size, volume, material, opening and the flow speed you need.
Does it need to fit in a holder, like on a bike or in the compartment of your hiking pack. Size also matters when it comes to the size of your hands. Many women have smaller hands and some water bottles are quite fat which makes them hard to hold and grip. Some manufacturers have overcome this by designing little grooves to hold on to. Nevertheless, make sure you can hold it easily.
3: Volume / Capacity How much water will you need to have in that one bottle. If you only do short sessions and usually in a controlled environment like a gym you may not need a 1liter bottle. On the other hand, if you are riding or hiking you might need a larger volume bottle because it is a long way between taps.
4: Material Plastic, metal or glass. This is a personal choice but again it is partly informed by the type of activity you are doing and the environment you will be doing it in.
- Glass; you don’t want a glass bottle when you are doing something quite vigorous outdoors as there is a distinct possibility it might just break. But for less vigorous activities it may well suit you down to the ground. Many of them come with silicon sleeves which help make them a little more robust.
- Metal bottles are often coated on the inside to reduce the possibility of tainted tastes and smells. Also dishwasher proof and unbreakable if you drop them, but some do dent. They are probably the most durable of all bottles.
- Plastic, or what passes as plastic bottles have come a long way in the last 10 years. They too can have special linings to stop smell and taint. They also come in soft plastic, hard plastic and collapsible. Some of the hard ones are a bit like glass so check they won’t crack or shatter if dropped. Also check if the plastic is still grippy when it is wet because you will inevitably spill water on your hands or the outside of the bottle and if it is slippery you will drop it.
- The openings of the bottles are all different. Ideally you want an opening that allows for some thick liquids, in case you need to ever have food on board. More importantly though being able to add ice cubes is a must if you ever exercise in the heat.
- Spouts are as individual as babies’ teats. You can have a valve that you squeeze between your teeth, ones that pull out, which you can do with your mouth or fingers, or ones that need to be twisted. etc. etc. Some will have a separate inlet for air so you don’t have to squeeze or wait for the flow. Others are made so you can squeeze them and manage the flow in this way.
6: Other considerations
- Collapsible bottles are handy if you are hiking. Just check you can hold it to drink from. You might even want to check out a water bladder if you are doing long distances.
- Insulation, necessary in most peoples’ summer time, and especially if you exercise outdoors. You need to know it does keep the water cool and for how long.
- Do you need to be able to see how much is inside? Important if you are mixing things as it saves using a jug.
- Dishwasher proof? Absolutely necessary because it is difficult to clean the little nooks and crannies otherwise.
- Big tip make sure you keep your bottles clean. This might mean you need two or three so you always have a clean one ready to go.
- Make sure they can be put into the dishwasher.
- Empty them out after every use. Don’t leave little bits of fluid in them as the germs from your mouth can easily grow in the left overs and give you a tummy upset.
All in all, buying a bottle is not a simple decision.
What do I use? An insulated 750 ml twist top medium flow with a wide opening, I have to squeeze it to control the flow. A bit of an all rounder really. I seem to be able to take this with me in whatever I am doing. I also have a smaller 500ml bottle with a high flow spout which I carry as a second bottle when riding.
Cycling clothes; 7 Top Tips for Buying the Best
Cycling clothes are a little different to other types of active wear. Because of the angle at which you pedal, and the wind factor on exposed extremities, they need to have a few extra things to make you and your ride more comfortable. It is possible to double up with other gear but I have generally found that the only things I can double up with are my cold weather running base layers. They are good if you are cycling in cold weather because they keep you at an even temperature and some of them are temperature rated for certain conditions.
- Make sure your tops and jackets are a bit longer so you can lean forward to pedal without exposing your lower back. That is of course unless you have a great tattoo you want to show off.
- You need pockets preferably one with a zip that can fit your phone, and another one or two for your hanky, some money or a card and maybe some food such as a muesli bar or an apple. You might not need this if you use a panier or basket but I still think pockets are a good idea. I don’t think you can ever have enough pockets
- Thumb holes are amazing, unless of course you are riding in short sleeves. Thumb holes are great because the sleeves stay put and don’t get in the way. They also cover that little gap of exposed skin on your wrist between your gloves and your sleeves.
- Invest in a gillet, a sleeveless jacket that is used just to keep the wind off your chest. Sometimes that is all you need to keep your core warm without making you too hot.
- Check out whether or not your jacket can keep out the wind. Many cycling jackets have ratings on them as to whether or not they let wind in at all. As I said before thumb holes are good if you can get them too.
- Get a bigger rain jacket. Make sure it is big enough to cover all of you so water doesn’t sneak in. Sometimes the next size up is better because it will cover your other clothes and maybe your pack if you have one. Also good to check it has vents so you don’t end up being boiled inside it. Rain jackets come in all shapes and sizes, with some really lightweight ones that roll up into almost nothing.
- GO BOLD AND BRIGHT. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS HAVING BRIGHT COLOURS, OR REFLECTIVE STRIPS OR WRITING, SO YOU ARE VISIBLE EVEN IN LOW LIGHT. IF YOU ARE CYCLING IN THE CITY YOU MIGHT WANT TO INVEST IN A HIGH VIZ VEST.
Anatomy of a Bike Helmet; 3 Important Connections
Bicycle helmets are a must have part of your cycling kit. Helmets were originally designed to reduce skull fractures. However one of the main injuries for cyclists is concussion. Depending on how tall you are a recent report by Allen St John for Consumers Report estimated that your head could hit the ground at between 9.5 – 13.4 mph.
Concussion is generally caused by your brain bouncing around inside your skull; so the more of the impact that can be absorbed the less movement of your brain occurs.
In a recent study by the University of Arizona they analysed the records of 6,200 people nationwide who had a Traumatic Brain Injury as a result of a bike accident. They found that wearing a helmet cuts the risk of severe injury by 58%.
You might see some helmets now with a something called a Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS). Developed in Sweden, this improves the ability of the helmet to absorb the energy from the impact and hence stop your brain from bouncing around.
1: Inner Liner
This is specifically designed to reduce brain injury in the event of a fall by absorbing the energy of the fall rather than your brain.Typically made from some type of polystyrene that crushes and cracks on impact.
2: Outer Skin
Made of smooth substances so that you can slide along the ground if you get tossed off. Stops things from penetrating into your head as well because it is hard. It also helps to spread the impact around the helmets inner liner. It also reduces the wrenching of your head and neck.
3: Helmet buckles and retention straps
Typically the retention system is a type of strap harness inside the helmet. These days there are little knobs on the back of the helmet that can tighten or loosen the harness so that it fits perfectly.
The straps fall from this system into a y shape on either side of your ears and then are merged through a clip under your chin.
The straps are made from special material to make sure they are strong enough not to snap on impact.
Which Helmet Should I Buy?
It is really important you have the right helmet for the type of cycling that you do. Helmets are purpose made for the demands of each particular sport.
- Road Cycling Helmets are much lighter and have more vents.
- BMX helmets have greater protection on the sides and back of the head. They might also have full face elements added. They are larger and much heavier than other helmets
- Mountain Bike helmets are similar to BMX helmets with greater protection for off road use.
No matter what type of helmet you buy it should have been assessed by whatever authority grants safety standards in your country or region, and it should meet their rating. Every country is different but your cycling shop should know the answer to this. If they don’t then that is probably not the right place to buy your helmet.
For those of you who have long hair there are now helmets that have special pony tail sections in the helmet just for you. You just thread your pony tail through and it stops it being squashed against your neck.
What Should I Wear?
6 Things to Think About When You Are Buying and Caring for Your Sports Gear
Having the right clothes to exercise in is as important as doing the exercise. If the clothes aren’t made for what you are doing you can end up in all sorts of trouble. Blisters, chafing and with issues from either being too hot or too cold.
Having clothes that you use just for your exercise also sends a signal to your brain that it is time to move it up a notch. Also if exercise is new to you it can make you feel more confident, particularly if you are worried that you will stand out.
So what do you need to look for when buying sports gear generally.
- Moisture wicking fabrics, or what I call technical fabrics have really revolutionised sports and active wear. These fabrics are designed to keep you at an even temperature and to wick away sweat from your skin so that you don’t stay damp and don’t chafe.
They come with several different names but you will know when you read the label that they are technical fabrics. Some common ones are
- Dri Fit
- Cool Max
- Silver integrated technology, which not only keeps your temperature constant but kills bacteria so your clothes don’t get that sweaty smelly perfume.
What ever you do don’t wear 100% cotton it will just get wet and stay that way.
2. Seamless or rolled Edges so that they don’t rub you or create a point of friction and cause a blister or a sore of some description.
3. The right size is important because they are designed to move in a certain way when you move and if they are the wrong size they won’t operate as they are supposed to. Technical fabrics are designed to be worn closer to the skin so they can actually wick away the sweat. This may not be what you are used to but give it a try it will make a big difference.
4. Caring for them is as important as buying them. If you care for them properly they will last you a long time. When washing don’t use fabric conditioner. The conditioner will inhibit the technical fabric and it won’t work properly.
5. Don’t put them in the clothes dryer always dry them in the air. The heat will also destroy the fabric and its properties. They are usually very light and dry quickly even inside.
6.Wear clean clothes every time you exercise. Your clothes will last longer and you will be less likely to get any kind of nasty infection which can happen when bacteria and fungus come into contact with a nice moist environment on your skin
7 Fascinating Facts on Undies You Need to Know
Have you ever wondered what is the best underwear when you are exercising?
Well believe it or not it is really important. It can be the difference between enjoying your exercise and never wanting to do it again.
Good hygiene is absolutely vital and is one area where you don’t want to take short cuts so you don't get any nasty bugs.
- Firstly there are no definitive rules on whether you should or should not wear knickers underneath your exercise tights. It really is personal preference. If you don’t wear underwear then you have to wash them after each use. They dry really quickly anyway and you could do it in the shower so they are dry and ready to go the next time you are.
- If you are prone to infections, and urinary tract Infections then wearing undies is a good idea.
- Make sure your undies are made from breathable and wickable fabric that stays put. What I call technical fabrics. Technical fabrics are what you will find in most sports and active wear these days. They are specially designed to move your sweat away from your body so it can evaporate and so that you don’t stay wet and sweaty. (That's what I had specially knitted into my Fit N Fifty Plus Socks)
- If your undies are the wrong size, either too big or too little, then chances are you will get chafing and blisters and it will make your exercise session uncomfortable.
- Some people like to wear a “thong” or “G String” style, especially if they are worried about VPL (Visible Panty Lines). Make sure it is made of a tech style fabric not straight cotton to stop it moving into places it shouldn’t, and therefore increasing your risk of an infection.
- If you have incontinence, particularly stress incontinence. Firstly read the article on incontinence, where you will find a host of reference sites, and listen in to Dr Samantha Pillay about what you can do.You could also check out a site called Dear Kates who sell a slightly nicer version of knickers for this kind of support. Don’t let incontinence stop you from being physically active. There is so much you can do.
- BIKE KNICKS ARE A DIFFERENT THING ALTOGETHER YOU NEVER WEAR UNDERWEAR WITH YOUR BIKE KNICKS. WHY because they are specially designed to fit next to your skin. If you wear undies you will get sore! And that is a whole other blog post.
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Let the Rubber Help you Hit the Road
Have you ever wondered what those funny coloured bands are that hang up at the gym, the physio or in the sports shops? Well they are commonly known as stretch or exercise bands.
They have a variety of uses including whole exercise classes using just the bands. They can also be used to help in rehabilitation when you are recovering from an injury, to help you stretch properly or, what I love them for starting to do some resistance training before you are ready for weights. Whether that is with your own body weight or with real ones.
You should be aiming for at least 2 sessions of resistance or weight training every week. this will help to keep your muscle mass from declining and improve your balance and overall joint and body strength and flexibility.
Bands may or may not have handles. It doesn’t really matter it is just that you have to wrap the end of the ones without handles around your hands. I have had a few issues with the handles because I wander off daydreaming and then they have given me a little whack! So pay attention.
They may also be a loop instead of one straight piece. Again it doesn’t really matter and comes down to personal preference.
They are relatively inexpensive. You can buy them in my shop being launched at the end of this week.
The best thing is they don’t take up any room when you travel so you can work out while you are away really well.
There are literally hundreds of programs on the web. Most of which come with videos explaining the proper technique. If you are a gym member then one of the fitness trainers there could also show you the correct way to use them.
You will also be shown how to use them properly if you sign up for one of my Refab Your Body Refab Your Life 6 Week starter programs (launching soon)
Three things to remember when working out with Bands
- Different colours mean different strengths make sure you get the correct one for you.
- Different brands can also mean a difference even if they are the same colour.
- Start out with a really soft one and work your way up.
Stretch bands are a great way to ease into developing up your muscle strength and lengthening out some of our tight parts as we get older. A recent study in the Journal of Sports, Science Medicine* indicates that exercise programs using resistance bands improves fitness and cognitive performance in older adults probably better than just recreational exercise particularly in terms of strength and grip.
So if you are having trouble holding on to the wheel then you need to hit the rubber.
*Hernán Ponce-Bravo, Christian Ponce, Belén Feriche, Paulino Padial, (2015) Influence of Two Different Exercise Programs on Physical Fitness and Cognitive Performance in Active Older Adults: Functional Resistance-Band Exercises vs. Recreational Oriented Exercises. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (14), 716 - 722.
What's coming between you and your shoes?
Yes, even walking you need to make sure you have good socks.
Most shoes are designed to be worn with socks but a sock is not just a sock. Like shoes they can make or break your enjoyment of your sessions.
A bad pair of socks can give you blisters and may lead you to develop callouses on your feet.
Socks protect your foot, and provide the cushioning and interface between your shoes and your skin, so it’s really important they:
Are the Right Size
Can’t believe I have to say this but I have seen people with that little piece of material bulging over the back of their shoe. Having too much material in the sock will mean your shoe won’t fit properly. Having not enough will squash your toes and your feet.
The Right Type
Yes, different socks for different things just like your shoes. Running socks for running, cycling socks for riding and walking socks for walking. They are all made with supports and cushioning in different places so they support you in what ever you are doing.
The Right Weather Credentials
Just like your other clothes good socks are designed to be used in different weather conditions. Some to keep your feet cool and others to keep them warm. All of them should wick sweat away from your skin.
The Best kinds to buy are:
- The best ones you can afford
- Made of technical fabric
- Designed for the purpose for which you are going to use it.
Good socks do not have seams that rub you.
- My Very Own Fit N Fifty Plus of Course, with Silver Integrated Technology specially designed for you. Buy them in the Fit'nFifty Plus Shop by clicking here.
- X Socks, particularly the ones with silver in them to keep you cool
- 1000 mile
- De Feet
Oh and just like everything else replace them regularly, holes aren’t that good for your feet either.
If you can’t get what you need from your local shop buy online but let the local shop know they may get them in for you.
Looking After "The Girls" How to Buy the Perfect Sports Bra
Your breasts are made up of very delicate tissue that takes quite a hammering over your lifetime. Even if you don’t have children, yes they are worth the effort but they do wreak havoc on your body, the hormonal changes you undergo as a woman will affect your breasts throughout your life.
Breasts are supported by things called Coopers Ligaments and your skin which means they do need quite a bit of help to keep them in place and ageing gracefully.
Having good support whilst you exercise is paramount to your experience of being fit and healthy. If your bra rubs, chafes, rides up or down and generally feels uncomfortable you are going to be less likely to exercise.
1: FIT IS PARAMOUNT
Sports Bras are specially designed to keep your breast from moving too much and keeping you cool and dry. It does not matter what your size you need a sports bra. To get the right size you need to measure there are many bra calculators on the web. I recommend the one at www.bodiccea.com.au they also sell really good bras and are happy to answer questions and help you.
2: HORSES FOR COURSES
Different activities make your body move in slightly different ways so a crop top might be good for a gently Yoga class but definitely no good for walking or running. You need a bra designed for activity so that it is made of the correct fabric to wick away your sweat.
3: UNDERWIRE IS THE ENEMY
Most of us over 50 will have our favourite types of bras, however if you are an underwire girl this doesn’t translate to using underwire in your sports bras. Underwire will rub, particularly if you get sweaty. It is restrictive and doesn’t move with you, and we all know what a joy it is when the wire comes out and pokes you!