Exercise is an integral part of life that can make you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. Getting the heart pumping, releasing toxins through sweat, and challenging yourself in various ways are essential. For many of us, sticking to one sport can get tiresome. Cross-training is an effective method for increasing muscle use and keeping your workouts interesting. A favorite combination of many is running and swimming. A refreshing swim after your run can help your body cool down and stretch out the muscles that have tightened throughout the run. On the other hand, running after a brisk swim can help you warm up in a colder environment.
With so many excellent fabrics available on the market, can women's activewear be used for swimming? The answer is it depends. Whether you are training for a triathlon, or you like to combine your workouts, changing outfits between swimming and running can be inconvenient. So is activewear appropriate for switching from sport to sport in one session? It comes down to the material of the activewear, how long you will be swimming, and other factors.
Activewear has many perks that make it possible to wear it swimming and in other forms of exercise like running. Lightweight, breathable fabrics used in activewear offer faster drying times than regular clothing thanks to their moisture-wicking properties. Not to mention, odor-blocking fabrics help keep you smelling fresh longer.
One of the significant differences between activewear and swimwear is that swimwear is more durable, particularly in harsh water conditions, including chlorine and other pool chemicals. Chlorine-resistant swimsuits are better suited to deal with chemicals while maintaining their shape and elasticity.
Activewear, while streamlined for on-land activities like running, biking, and walking, when in water, tends to get heavier and provide drag in the water. In this sense, certain activewear may slow you down in the water. Further, swimwear provides a more streamlined and hydrodynamic fit that helps you move more swiftly through the water.
Form-fitting quick-dry athletic shorts with a sports bra might be a safe bet when you're in a pinch and needing a quick transition from running to swim or visa versa. Some workout shirts of highly breathable and lightweight materials may offer less drag through the water and quicker drying time.
Whether or not activewear will be appropriate for a cross-training activity depends on how long you plan to be in the water. Keeping these materials in chlorinated water can lead to the clothing losing its shape and deteriorating faster. If you take a quick dip after your run and can wash the clothing quickly, your activewear will likely be okay.
For the most part, wearing activewear during a competitive swim will not be your best option because of the drag of the clothing in the water. You'll likely see your time increase and performance decrease. It may be worth purchasing swim-specific gear in competitive scenarios for your best time.
On the flip side, can swimwear be worn for running? Sometimes! Your swimsuit shorts or women's board shorts can serve for a quick run down the beach before jumping in the ocean. When you're all hot and sweaty from your run, you'll have quick access to a massive body of water to jump into. It's a great way to reward yourself for getting out of the house for a run.
If you wear a swimsuit for running, watch out for chafing between the legs, as it can quickly get painful, especially if you have sand or salt water there.
Exercise, particularly cross-training, is an excellent way to stay fit, active, and happy. "Happy" neurotransmitters such as dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin are released when you exercise, leading to elevated mood and a better sense of well-being.
Running is an excellent form of exercise because it is weight-bearing and can help increase bone density, which is particularly important for middle-aged and older women. As we age, we lose bone density, making us more susceptible to bone fracture and injury. Weight-bearing and strengthening workouts remain essential as the aging process goes along. However, remember any old injuries or weaknesses that may make weight-bearing exercise unsafe for you. We recommend you consult an expert such as a physical therapist, personal trainer, or your primary care physician before starting a new workout regime.
Moreover, swimming is a perfect form of movement as we age because it allows you to use many different muscles without putting pressure on the joints. You can't go wrong with swimming for an all-over body workout to maintain joint mobility and general strength.
Between workouts, take plenty of time to rest so your muscles and joints can recover, repair, and build new muscles. Yoga pants and sweatshirts for women make for an ultra-comfy chill outfit post-workout.
While activewear can undoubtedly serve as swim gear in a pinch between running and swimming activities, investing in swim-specific or cross-training-specific gear is best to see your top performance.