by Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus
Just as your house needs some spring cleaning, so does your collection of workout gear. Good gear not only looks and feels good, but can help your performance and can keep you healthy. Workout gear is not just about style, but about function.
Here are some things to check for spring weather:
This is the most important aspect of your workout gear. Bad feet are the enemy of every active person. You can do very little when your feet hurt. Check your shoes, for all your sports, and see if it’s time to invest in some new ones. Don’t just look at the soles of the shoes to see if they are worn; many shoes can still have soles that look good, but have no cushioning left. An easy test to see if your current athletic shoe has some cushioning left is to put one of your old shoes on one foot and a brand new shoe on the other. Now, walk or jog around and see how great the difference is. If you notice a big one, time to change. Also, don’t be fooled by the cleanliness of your shoes; that doesn’t mean that they’re still supportive. Shoes have a life, measured in miles or months. They are not worn out just when they have holes in them or are so dirty you can’t stand them. A good guide is to change your walking/running shoes every 400 miles. If you walk to play golf and play a couple of times a week, one or two seasons is all you will get out of your shoes. If you play competitive tennis a few times a week, 4 months will be about it for your shoes. Bad shoes lead to bad things: plantar fasciitis, knee pain, hip pain, and low back pain.
If you have not changed or added to your wardrobe in the last 10 years, you are working out in ancient technology. There have been many changes in materials being used to make workout, tennis, golf, running and walking clothes. These new materials can help you stay warm or cool, dry, and even protect you from UV rays. Do yourself a favor and look at some of the newer clothes and see if you can make your workout experience more pleasant and even safer with proper clothing.
Protecting yourself from the sun is a basic safety precaution everyone should take. There are no excuses left as to why you would not use sunscreen. The messy lotions are gone; now you can use instantly drying sprays that do not leave your hands or your clothes greasy.
These go in both the category of clothes and sunscreen. Hats are great to block the sun from your face, but if you don’t have a hat made of a more modern material, it can cause you to overheat and hinder your performance. If you see that you only have hats from the old college days or from some old vacations spots, it’s time to update to a more athletic cap.
As you spend more time outside, away from the house (and the fridge), make sure you think about foods and drinks that are both good for you and easy to take. There are a wide variety of foods that will not melt or spoil that are actually good for you and lots of drinks that can fuel you without loading you up with sugar or caffeine. Ask your personal trainer of nutrition professional about foods for performance.
These are a few things to get you ready for spring. Having the correct workout gear does help and it does keep you healthy and safe. Enjoy the nice weather.