Not all fabrics are created equal, and the right one will depend on your workout and how much you sweat

If you’re a regular reader of the Healthy Living Portal (and we certainly hope you are!) you’ll know we’ve touched on choosing the right fabrics for your workouts in a couple of previous articles. Well, buckle up because now we’re doing a deep dive on available fabrics and what they offer in terms of stretch, breathability, not leaving you a dripping wet mess, and even sustainability.

Cotton
Pros
Cotton is a great, natural fabric that is light and feels good against our skin. It’s soft and breathable and great for loungewear.

Cons Cotton hangs onto water for dear life, takes ages to dry, and will keep the fabric pressed against your skin – chafing!

Spandex
Pros
It’s stretchy (up to 6x stretchy), and snaps back to its original shape making it great for workouts that need a wide range of motion.

Cons It’s a finnicky fabric in that you can’t put it in the dryer at a high heat, or dryclean it and you definitely don’t want to try ironing it or it will lose its elasticity.

Polyester
Pros
Inexpensive and recyclable polyester may seem the perfect option. Made by combining several chemical together, it’s also extremely durable in that it won’t shrink or lose its shape.

Cons It will stick to wet skin. It’s also susceptible to runs or pulls, snagging the fabric.

Nylon
Pros
It has come a long way! It’s more durable than polyester and also abrasion resistant, lightweight, easy to wash and fast drying.

Cons It can have moisture-wicking properties but to do so the fabric needs to be specially treated. You’re also likely to get the most static off nylon.

Bamboo
Pros
Bamboo fabric is very soft, cool, and comfortable and only requires 33% of the water required to grow cotton. It can absorb up to four times more moisture as cotton, keeping you dry, and will keep you warm in winter and cool in summer.

Cons Bamboo fibers aren’t as durable as cotton and the chemical process of extracting the fibers causes quite a bit of pollution. The fabric is also more expensive and anything white can yellow with age.

Five tips on caring for your clothing

Workout gear can retain scent if not properly cared for, and can wear out quicker. Synthetic fabrics offer a great place for bacteria to thrive so it’s important to take certain steps to clean them thoroughly.

  1. Let your clothing breathe
    Don’t immediately ball them up into laundry hamper after a workout. If you can’t wash your outfit immediately, let the clothing air a bit first.
  2. Refresh the scent
    Soaking your clothes in cold water with half a cup of white vinegar will help remove unpleasant odors.
  3. Play it cool
    Hot water is not your workout gear’s friend because it can destroy the elasticity in the fabrics. The same goes for the drier. This region has an abundance of sunny weather – use it.
  4. Say no to softener
    Yes, it smells nice in the bottle, but softener can actually coat your clothes and trap odors in the fabric.
  5. Wash your clothes inside out
    A bit of a no-brainer, the inside of your clothes is where the bacteria breeds, so it makes sense that turning your clothes inside out will give them a better wash.

Working out is a commitment, and using the right clothes in the right fabrics will benefit your overall performance. It’s worth choosing the right fabrics and looking after them properly to keep them long lasting.


Healthy Living is a frequently updated content section brought to you by the Saudi Sports for All Federation. In the spirit of supporting our #HealthyActiveCommunity, we’re sharing tips around wellness, physical activity and more!

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