Low-Tech Togs Keep Exercisers Cool
A broad range of high-tech fabrics, purported to keep exercisers drier and more comfortable, have flooded the workout wear market in recent years.
But are these synthetic fabrics, which are more costly than your standard cotton T-shirt or shorts, worth the money?
Researchers at Indiana University in Bloomington conducted a small study to compare the effects of three different exercise outfits before, during and after bouts of running and walking.
Eight men wore shorts and T-shirts made of either cotton or evaporative synthetic fabrics, or remained ''seminude'' in a swimsuit.
Participants exercised in a moderately warm and dry environment while researchers measured skin and core temperatures, oxygen consumption and heart rate.
They found no difference in any of these measurements among the three different conditions. Their results suggest that ''clothing as used in this study does not improve or impair temperature regulation,'' according to study author Dr. Timothy P. Gavin.
The cotton clothes did, however, retain more sweat than the synthetics 30 minutes after the men finished their running workouts, which suggests these fabrics live up to manufacturers' claims of moving sweat away from the body.
Study authors concluded that synthetic fabrics may have greater benefits than cotton in cooler conditions, where sweat may have a greater effect on one's body temperature.
Source: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,2001; 33, 2124-2130
This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.
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