Can your choice of sports clothing improve your performance? A recent study from the Ohio State University in the US suggests this might be the case.
Researchers compared a standard cotton t-shirt with a polyester sports t-shirt in terms of comfort and the impact it had on performance during exercise. One of the major benefits of sports clothing made from polyester is its ability to ‘wick’ moisture from the skin which helps to keep your body cool during a workout session. The study proved that when participants exercised in polyester t-shirts their perspiration was better able to evaporate, which in turn lead them to rate the clothing as significantly more comfortable.
The most surprising finding was perhaps that wearing polyester sports clothing improved sports performance in a test of speed and agility. Participants were significantly faster during a workout that involved short sprints and fast changes of direction, and that the effect was more pronounced in women than men.
Even though the study couldn’t find the reason behind the improvement in speed and agility scores, one theory was that the participants may have been lighter in polyester clothing due to the fact that cotton clothing retains moisture. Another possible explanation was the psychological effects related to being cooler and more comfortable clothing.
So, don’t skimp on quality sports clothing as it may significantly improve your performance. To preserve the wicking properties of your clothing, wash your exercise gear in a sports detergent and never use fabric softener because it clogs the pores of the fabric.