Life Lessons: Fashion Choices for Exercising

October 10, 2008

Lace up those shoes! We had such a nice discussion going about walking the other day that I feel the need to elaborate some more on it today.

I am lopsided. My right leg is a good inch (roughly) shorter than my left leg. All of my shoes have to get lifts built into the bottoms of them so that my right leg is propped up to the same height as my left leg (somehow this doesn’t do much for overriding my natural clumsiness, though). Because I have to find very specific shoes that can allow for the lift to be added on, shoe shopping is pretty much hell for me. Did I mention that I lovelovelove shoes?

This all results in me wearing shoes until they are falling apart on me. A couple weeks ago I sadly threw out an awesome pair of pink skater-type shoes because the cloth had worn through and there was plastic poking out, causing it to cut into my heel. I spent one very painful morning hobbling my way to work with my foot bleeding for a solid 45 minutes. My recommendation is to not try that out for yourself!

It’s important to wear the proper workout attire when you’re going out for a walk, or doing any form of exercise. We all know the common sense rules- “don’t wear high heels” is a given, of course- but then there’s the more elusive tips that never occur to you until you’re placed in a situation which alerts you to the fact real quick. Such as my experience last week at boot camp, when I wore the wrong kind of underwear and it decided to start slipping down over my (lack of) hips. I have never been more grateful for the darkness of 6:00 am for providing cover while I discreetly pulled up my underwear mid-run.

As the weather gets colder, it’s also important to wear lots of layers. You don’t want to freeze, but you also don’t want to overheat! Now that it’s just the beginning of fall, I like to wear my regular shirt and a sweater or jacket with a big fleece over the top so that I can make the choice partway through the walk/workout if it would be more comfortable to take off the fleece. It’s not quite cold enough yet, but once the river freezes over and I start skating again I’ll be wearing long underwear beneath my jeans for extra protection from the cold.

I am just beginning the 20 chin ups challenge (which is going excellently, by the way!) and there is a park just a couple blocks away from my house, so I’m taking advantage of the monkey bars while I do it. As I found out yesterday while it was raining, though, it can be difficult to hold onto those cold and wet bars when the weather is less than ideal! Investing in warm gloves with a bit of traction is definitely on my list of items that I need to add to my exercise wardrobe.

What kind of workout gear are you stocking up on as the weather changes? Any insights that you’ve had recently about what not to wear when exercising?


  1. Hmmm… I’ve had so many wardrobe malfunctions I could write a book on what not to wear while working out. My current fave was wearing a running skirt weight lifting. Allison banished me to “the cleavage corner” and we’re not talking cleavage up top… *blush*

    Interesting about your leg though! My right leg is slightly shorter than my left but nothing that requires interventino like that…

  2. The good thing for me is I never really have to worry about different wardrobes here in FL. It’s either hot as hell or sweltering hot as hell.

  3. Great post. I have to have new outdoor workout wear for this year. I hung on to a few over-sized sweatshirts to use as my outermost layer, but the underlayers all need replacing.

  4. I know it’s hard to believe, but it does get cold in northern Florida! No, not the penetrating COLD of the more north latitudes, but still cold enough. It’s all about layers and layers. Even gloves sometimes! Always wear a hat. (Not cold yet, however 🙂

  5. Charlotte- hehe I can only imagine the problems that would arise with a running skirt…

    Crystal- that’s rough! It’s so hard to work out in the heat. Water is just about the only accessory you really need.

    Cammy- Shopping trip? 🙂

    Dr. J- I always look so ridiculous with all my layers! But the important thing is being comfortable, anyway, right?

  6. ahhh i definitely layer up when the weather gets cold! but i workout at a gym so i dont really layer up since i dont have to deal with outdoor temps… on a separate note i laughed when i read your “don’t wear heels”, because the other day i saw some girl on the treadmill with flip flops and i wanted to go up to her and tell her it wasn’t safe!

  7. Wisconsin = cold. Soon. Layers are important. And boots (but they don’t work so well for running…). Cross country skiing works though. In a winter jacket. For me, it’s not about fashion – it’s about comfort… But then, when I’m out, there usually isn’t anyone else anyway – and it’s dark. So, I guess what I look like doesn’t matter much!

    Great post Sagan!

  8. I feel your foot pain! I don’t have problems with workout shoes, but I’ve learned that if I EVER go sockless to bring bandaids no matter what. I’m quite blister prone.

  9. It’s definitely crucial to dress in layers!! :0)

  10. Loveofoats- flipflops!? Wow. I can’t even walk in those things in the best of times, never mind on a treadmill… I don’t know whether to be impressed with that kind of skill or concerned for her well-being…

    Lance- definitely all about the comfort. And I LOVE cross country skiing! Lots and lots of layers for that sport:)

    Erin- bandaids are a must. I have such an appreciation for the invention of them.

    Veggiegirl- it sure is! Although I guess with all the amazing dancing you do, you don’t need to worry too much about the layering:)

  11. man IM SO READY for weather change here (TX) for now I shall live vicariously 🙂

  12. I’m still getting up to the 3 pull-ups in a row! (and it’s all about the gloves for me).

    I found a pair of leggings/yoga pants (supertight until the knee, then a bit loose) for cheap which made me happy, until I got home and tried them on. The waistband comes up to the bottom of my rib cage.

    I still wear them, just not to go to the gym….

  13. In MN we are always prepared! 🙂

  14. Way to go on the chin-ups! I wish I could even do one. I’m building up to it! How do you get started on something like that?

    As for the workout gear, it’s a big NO from me to grey marl. It looks SO cute until I start sweating, then… ugh. Not pretty any more.

    TA x

  15. MizFit- by the time it gets REALLY brutishly cold here, I’m sure you’ll no longer want to live vicarious:)

    Tricia- hehe sometimes I have the silliest outfits when I’m working out. But I think it’s better to look kinda funny than to be unprepared for exercising.

    Mark- good to hear!

    TA- for a while I couldn’t do one, either. But I concentrated a lot on doing bodyweight exercises, like push ups and planks and tricep dips, and also doing shoulder presses and bicep/hammer curls and arm raises with 8lbs dumbbells. Every few days or so I’d try to do a chin up again and gradually over time I managed to lift myself up… just takes lots of practice to keep going at it and lots of muscle-building doing exercises that you already CAN do!

  16. Thanks for that Sagan, I’m really going to give this a go (will keep me occupied while I’m taking time out from running!)

    TA x

  17. I use to gym during my lunch break, and I once forgot to pack my sports bra. It’s difficult to run wearing a black strapless number.

  18. Dee- ooh, I’ve done that one before. It’s no fun at all! Sports bras are fantastic.

  19. I’m a huuuge fan of Under Armor (leggings, tops and pullovers). Seriously, their stuff is fantastic. It keeps you warm as you’re starting out and then doesn’t overheat you once you get going. I use them for running, paddle tennis… even under my snowpants when I go snowboarding!!

  20. Catherine- that sounds like great stuff! I love warmth.

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