Longer days and rising temperatures may be all you need to jumpstart your workouts this spring. But if you’re still finding it a bit of a struggle to make exercise a priority, a little retail therapy may be just the motivation you need. There’s nothing like a new pair of walking shoes or a light spring jacket in your favorite colors to put a little extra spring in your step. That doesn’t mean you have to break the bank, but a new item or two can help you look and feel your best during your workout, whether you’re an exercise newbie or a seasoned fitness buff.
Here are some reasons to go spring shopping!
Sports bra. Look for a bra that is made with a little bit of Lycra for extra (but not too much) stretch, and with wicking material to soak up moisture and keep you dry. Many women like a supportive bra with a T-back or racer-back design that will prevent the straps from slipping off the shoulders. And don’t just guesstimate your size—be sure to try on the bra before you buy it. Once you find a bra you like, you may want to pick up several in a variety of jazzy colors.
Comfortable pants. Workout pants should be lightweight and made with moisture-wicking fabric to keep you cool and dry. They should also be loose enough so that you feel comfortable. Look for a pair that can be worn as long pants or adjusted to fit as capris. Assuming you work out in the early morning or in the evening, pick up colorful or light colored workout pants with reflective material so you’ll be visible. If you do yoga, keep in mind that wide-leg yoga capris can also be used for walking and other cardio activities.
Several pairs of socks. Shell out for good socks and you won’t be sorry, since they help protect your feet from blisters. Socks made from polyester or acrylic are recommended since they wick away moisture. Avoid 100% cotton socks, since they won’t keep your feet dry, and buy all your socks in the same color so you can mix and match if a sock or three are eaten by your dryer.
Sneakers. If you like to walk for exercise, opt for a walking-specific shoe that is flexible and made with breathable mesh. The best walking shoes don’t add a lot of bulk and can provide the right support for your feet. Check that they have what’s known as a semi-curve (the shape of the outsole) with soft cushioning. Avoid buying rocker bottom-type walking shoes. While some people feel that these shoes encourage them to get out and move more, they can aggravate chronic hip and back problems and have not been proven to be any better than conventional walking shoes. If you prefer to bike or play tennis, buy a shoe that is specific to that sport.
Spring jacket. A waterproof jacket offers protection from wind and rain. Just make sure it’s light and loose enough so you can add layers of clothes under it, depending on the weather. Of course, you’ll want to buy one in your favorite happy spring color! If you opt for a waterproof pullover hoodie, choose one that has a wide V-neck that lets you remove it easily if you grow too warm and that also has deep pockets to hold your keys and other small essentials. Both the pockets and the hood can lend extra warmth if the unstable spring temps take a downturn. A special slot in the jacket that lets you string your earbud through is useful, too.
Gym bag. Even if you don’t go to the gym, it’s great to have a bag in which to stash all your workout-related gear so you don’t have to hunt for it when you’re ready for some exercise. A water resistant material will help protect your bag from spilled water bottles and shampoo. Other features to check for include padded straps, a special cell phone pocket, a pouch for dirty laundry, and interior mesh pockets to separate all your stuff.