Is it good to wear tight clothes to the gym? Here is what the experts say

While men enjoy a fairly loose fit of activewear, women often have to squeeze into tight leggings and vests because that’s what the sportswear brands offer. Why?

Is it good to wear tight clothes to the gym? Here is what the experts say
© Photo by TSM/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
Is it good to wear tight clothes to the gym? Here is what the experts say

A recent studyshowed that 8 in 10 women believe that activewear, tights, and yoga pants are sexist, with many believing that some of the designs are meant to show off rather than to enhance performance. One respondent claimed that the necklines are too low. Others say that the apparel featured sheer material and even some peek-a-boo panels that reveal more than they should.

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And yet, this is what the sportswear brands continue offering and women around the world continue buying. Why?

There is more to tight activewear than meets (quite literally) the eye. See what the experts say.

Tight activewear helps avoid chafing

The fitness apparel needs to be snug to prevent chafing when you move. Professional athletes who wear drag-discouraging tight outfits make good examples. Their clothing is not to show off their fantastic bodies but to enhance their performance.

Body-hugging workout wear made from synthetic moisture-wicking fabrics such as Lycra or Spandex also pulls the sweat away from your skin so you stay dry and chafe-free, Prevention writes.

Tight activewear motivates you to train

What can be better than seeing the results of your hard work in the wall-sized mirror? You certainly won’t want to hide it. There’s no way of denying it, tight gym wear is sexy and can motivate us to work harder.

Tight activewear is safer and healthier than loose-fit training clothes

According to Nick Harris, a top human performance expert who created HPE Activewear, many sports injuries occur because of the lack of appropriate equipment, including clothes. Good quality compression wear, aka tight activewear, increases circulation and blood flow to the heart, delivering much-needed oxygen to working muscles, reducing fatigue and soreness by managing lactic acid accumulation, and helping to improve power, endurance and recovery.

As the gym is full of hazards, it also ensures a sleek look with no bits and pieces stuck in the machines.

Tight, but not too tight

While tight activewear is safe to have on in the gym, it supports your curves, motivates you and helps avoid chafing, it isn't necessarily good for women’s vulval health.

A woman’s vulva is sensitive and delicate. It can be easily irritated by a range of factors. As the gym and activewear promote sweating, opt for garments that are breathable and not excessively tight.

Controversy over performance

According to a study conducted at the University of Toronto, women wearing tight and revealing clothing, such as form-fitting tank tops and short shorts, are less consistent with their performance in the gym compared to fellow participants who wore loose and concealing clothing, including loose T-shirts and soccer shorts. These differences suggest that ‘the style of clothing may influence motor performance in women’ and that ‘tight and revealing clothing designed for performance and comfort might actually hinder performance.’

Sources used:

ABC Every Day: Activewear is great for exercise but can impact your vulval health

University of Toronto: U of T study finds that tight, revealing workout gear can negatively impact physical performance

My Dreamality: Why is women’s activewear so tight?

Metro: Nearly 80% of women think that activewear is sexist

Prevention: 4 Ways To Prevent Chafing During Your Workout

Harper’s Bazaar: 7 reasons why what you wear in the gym really matters

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