The Best Workout Apparel and Accessories for You
Nothing against cotton T-shirts and gym shorts, but those go-to summer staples aren’t ideal for your workout. Here’s why: Cotton absorbs sweat, leaving you soggy, and loose pockets won’t securely store your diabetes gear. “Being comfortable in what you’re wearing helps keep you motivated to stay active,” says Jennifer Smith, RD, LD, CDE, director of lifestyle and nutrition at Integrated Diabetes Services in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. “With diabetes, that means going one step further and asking, ‘Can I carry [my necessities] comfortably?’ ”
1. Sun Sense
You already know to wear sunscreen (for outdoor activities, look for SPF 30 and “sweat-resistant” on the label). Protect your eyes, too. Sports sunglasses are designed to stay put during exercise. A visor or mesh cap with a moisture-wicking sweat band shields your eyes and keeps your face sweat-free.
2. Secure Stash
Accessories such as armbands and waist packs make it easy to discreetly store your devices, glucose tablets, smartphone, and other essentials. Pockets—along the legs and hidden in the waistband on these capri pants—also do the trick. Reflective strips help make it safe to exercise outdoors before sunrise or after dark.
3. Comfort Zone
Quick-dry materials pull sweat away from the body. Nylon, polyester, and spandex offer support. And flat seams, along with proper fit (loose, but not oversized), help reduce chafing during workouts.
4. Thirst Quencher
Not drinking enough fluids before and during your workout can raise your blood glucose, so be sure to keep a water bottle within easy reach.
5. Sole Survival
Remember to try on shoes with your active-wear socks to check the fit. Look for socks without seams that have a little extra cushioning at the heel and ball of your foot to prevent blisters and other foot wounds. Make sure the fabric is moisture-wicking to help keep skin dry.
Woman: Adidas Adizero II Visor, $18, adidas.com; Nike Racerback Running Tank, $40, kohls.com; Myabetic Armband, $39, myabetic.com; Senita Athletics Pocket Capris, $36, senitaathletics.com; CamelBak Eddy Water Bottle, $15, camelbak.com; Balega Blister Resist No Show socks, $13 per pair, balega.com; Gravity Defyer G-Defy Ion Athletic Shoes, $150, gravitydefyer.com. Man: Under Armour UA Shadow 4.0 Run Cap, $22, and Under Armour UA Threadborne Seamless shirt, $40, underarmour.com; Pepper’s Trigger Polarized Sunglasses, $45, rei.com; Walgreens Diabetic Medical ID Bracelet, $21, walgreens.com; American Diabetes Association Water Bottle With Pill Case, $20, shopdiabetes.org; Diabetic SPIbelt, $22, spibelt.com; Eddie Bauer Men’s Meridian Shorts, $70, eddiebauer.com; Balega Blister Resist No Show socks, $13 per pair, balega.com; New Balance 928v3 walking shoes, $135, newbalance.com
Additional sources: Karen Kemmis, PT, DPT, MS, CDE, FAADE, physical therapist at SUNY Upstate Medical University; Jacqueline Shahar, MEd, RCEP, CDE, manager of the Clinical Exercise Physiology Department at the Joslin Diabetes Center