Gym clothes are made to last, but not forever. Find out what you should keep and what you should toss.
Spring cleaning isn’t just for your home. It’s also a perfect time to overhaul your gym clothes. Workout wear that is worn or damaged, it turns out, can cause discomfort or even serious injury and negatively impact your fitness goals.
Did you know that sports bras should be replaced every six to 12 months? Toss them when they start to rub, ride up when you raise your arms or you no longer feel like the garment is supportive. Get the most out of your sports bras by washing them by hand or using the gentle cycle on your washing machine and hanging them up to dry.
Replace athletic socks when you start to feel them moving separately from your foot during exercise. Obviously replace these when they start to wear thin, get holes or lose their elasticity. Worn-out socks can lead to blisters, which put a damper on your workout routine. When replacing socks, look for those with cushioning on the sole and avoid cotton — it retains sweat and creates a wet environment, conducive for bacteria and fungus growth.
Tops, Pants and Shorts
The lifespan of these garments depends on the fabric. If fitted items start to feel loose or the fabric begins to wear thin or pill, it’s probably time to shop for replacements. Follow the manufacturer’s care instructions to get the most wear out of these pieces. When machine-washing skip the fabric softener, which diminishes breathability, water repellency and the fabric’s wicking ability. You should also line dry these items whenever possible.
Pool chemicals take a toll on your swimsuit. And when your suit doesn’t fit properly, it can create drag and slow you down in the water. Replace it when the crotch becomes baggy, the fabric fades or at if you begin to see tiny white fibers. Rinsing it with tap water post-swim and laying it flat to dry will help your suit last longer.
Replace your running shoes every 300 to 500 miles, as worn-out shoes can cause serious complications such as knee injury, shin splints and back pain. Other athletic shoes should be replaced about every three months. To help your shoes last longer, wear them only while working out — any walking or running causes wear. If possible, get two pairs of shoes and rotate them so each pair can fully decompress between workouts.