If You're Over 65, Don't Wear These 6 Clothing Items to Exercise
Physical therapists and personal trainers say they could lead to accidents and injuries.
Deciding what to wear to exercise can be a challenge. The most important thing is comfort: Whatever you wear has to offer unrestrictive mobility and be cozy enough that you don't mind staying in it for a while. Next, you'll want to ensure your clothes make you feel your best—because when you feel confident, you do better work. Finally, your workout outfit must be safe and hazard-free, especially over the age of 65, when injuries can be even more difficult to recover from. That's where it's best to consult the pros. Ahead, trainers and health experts tell us the clothing items people over 65 should avoid wearing to exercise. Toss them from your gym drawer ASAP.
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Anything too tight
Choosing a gym outfit to wear over the age of 65 is about finding a happy medium between tight and loose.
"People over 65 should wear clothing that is breathable, sweat-wicking, and comfortable without being restrictively tight or too compressing," says Rachel MacPherson, certified personal trainer. "Circulation can be decreased when you are older, so it's important to make sure seams and cuffs of clothing are not digging into your skin, including socks, pants, and sports bras."
Try a squat or pushup before making your next athleisure purchase to ensure your items fit the bill.
Or too loose
On the other hand, overly loose clothes can also be a hindrance. If people arrive in them for a training session, MacPherson simply keeps those folks away from machines and cables that could catch on the clothing and cause an injury.
"It's a touchy subject because people often want to hide their bodies when they do this, and asking someone to wear tight clothing is not appropriate," says MacPherson.
Loose clothing can also make it difficult for your trainer to assess your form. For example, "loose pants can obstruct the view of your feet and make it harder to see if you're maintaining proper alignment during exercises like squats or lunges," says Bishnu Pada Das, National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer.
Fortunately, most outfits are totally fine—you'll just want to stay away from dragging hems and oversized pieces.
100 percent cotton pieces
There's a reason workout clothing is sold in a separate department: It's made of materials that are conducive to exercising and sweating.
In a blog post on the Elite Sports Club website, group exercise instructor Annie Farley, MS, CPT, says to avoid any clothing items that are 100 percent cotton, as the material easily absorbs moisture and is then slow to dry. "That excess moisture weighs you down, can cause chills, skin breakouts, and an increase in chafing," she says.
Instead, choose moisture-wicking fabrics like spandex, nylon, and polyester, which "pull moisture away from the skin using tiny, built-in capillaries," explains Macy's in an activewear guide. "Moisture is drawn to the exterior of the fabric, which makes it easier to evaporate."
Poorly fitting sneakers
Wearing ill-fitting or unsupportive footwear is one of the biggest no-nos for workout wear after age 65.
"Older adults may be more prone to foot problems like flat feet or plantar fasciitis, so choosing shoes with good arch support is crucial," says Pada Das. "Shoes with good cushioning can help absorb impact and reduce stress on joints, which can be especially important for individuals with arthritis or other joint problems."
You'll also want to look for shoes with quality grip to prevent slips and falls, as well as ones that fit properly to prevent blisters and rubbing. If you're worried about tripping, especially if you're running or walking outside alone, a slip-on athletic shoe is a great option.
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Necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and more can also be hazardous at the gym, so you'll want to remove them ahead of your sweat sesh.
"Jewelry that dangles or is loose can get caught on equipment or may cause injury, so it's best to remove it before working out," says Pada Das.
Wearable ankle weights
While this isn't clothing per se, you've probably seen ankle weights everywhere lately—but they might not be the best thing to introduce to your workouts after age 65.
Terry Downey, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, told Harvard Health they could add a disadvantage to exercises like walking by forcing you to use your quads. "That causes a muscle imbalance," Downey says. The weights can also pull on your ankles, which adds the risk of injury to the knees, hips, and back, according to Harvard Health. Consult your doctor before adding them to your routine.