Many of us may consider working out indoors with air conditioning to be ideal, but that isn’t always possible, especially with summer travel. If you plan on running, cycling, swimming or partaking in any other physical activity outdoors, there are special precautions that must be taken and performance fitness gear you’ll want to stock up on to optimize your workout.
Athleta’s senior manager of innovation and product information, Tracy Byrnes, notes that for summer outdoor workouts, it’s important to “look for polyester garments that will breathe and wick away moisture to keep you dry. Zoned mesh areas can provide additional ventilation for really hot days.” She adds that “extended exposure to UV rays can cause skin cancer and other disorders so it’s important to protect your skin. Look for tops with ratings of UPF 50+ if you’re buying clothes with built-in protection [UPF is a rating used for apparel sun protection, while SPF is the rating system for sunscreen].” Byrnes also told us that looking for clothing with anti-odor technology is a plus and she singles out this tank from Athleta.
Here’s a look at some standout performance apparel along with gadgets and accessories to help you make the most out of your summer outdoor workouts.
Though these were designed with women in mind, they could just as easily work for men. They're about as lightweight as headphones can get, while delivering great sound quality and they come with five ear tip options for optimal comfort. Best of all, the multi-sport headphones fit securely both in and out of the water.
Hidden Comfort, $12
Long-lasting while offering seam-free comfort without bunching or slipping, these socks also have mesh ventilation panels and a flattering low-cut design (along with a variety of color options).
RCX5 GPS, $469.95
When it comes to heart rate monitors, it doesn't get any better than Polar. The RCX5 is a standout because it's designed for multi-sport athletes (it allows you to create your own sport profiles and quickly switch between them, which is critical for anyone training for a triathlon), so it will provide your heart rate whether you're running, cycling or swimming. You can also store the data for up to 99 workouts and link it to the Polar website for deeper analysis of your workout progress. As an added bonus, unlike many other heart rate monitors, this one is so beautifully designed you'll want to wear it as a watch when you're not working out.
This new running shoe from New Balance is great balance between design and performance. It's super lightweight, has an odor-resistant upper and it's made with waterproof materials that make it ideal for trail runs.
Few things interrupt a run as much as having an iPod bounce around because it's flimsily clipped to a top. This armband not only securely keeps it on your arm, but whether you're using it to store your iPhone, iPod, Blackberry, or some other device, it allows for full function of the touchscreen. It is even waterproof so you can use it when you're swimming.
Unfortunately, the tagline "made for a woman, but strong enough for a man" doesn't tend to hold true for odor protection. The best options, even for women, have usually been designed for men. Case in point: the latest from Molton Brown, a roll-on anti-perspirant infused with cassia bark to refresh and andiroba seed oil to condition.
PRO SPF 50 Sunscreen, $12.99
This mineral-based sunscreen will protect your skin against both the aging UVA rays and the burning UVB ones even while you're dripping in sweat.
EnduraCool Instant Cooling Towel Collection, $14.99-$39.99
These towels are made from a proprietary performance fabric that instantly cools to approximately 30 degrees below the average body temperature in under a minute when soaked with water, wrung out and then snapped in the air to activate the cooling properties. The cooling technology lasts up to two hours before needing to be re-activated.
Designed to allow full range of motion while wicking sweat away. These bottoms will help keep you both dry and comfortable.
Impact Tunic Tank, $37.99
This moisture-wicking polyester top dries quickly and has a mesh back for extra ventilation. It's also relatively loose-fitting so it's both stylish and comfortable.