(Chelsea Update would like to thank Amy Heydlauff, executive director of the Chelsea-Area Wellness Foundation for the information in this column.)
I have to make a confession.
I don’t work out at a fitness or wellness center.
I have excuses (explanations?) just like everyone else. Most of them are true, to one extent or another. My days are too full. The classes aren’t at times that are convenient for me. I don’t like to work out in front of people I know. Pool water dries out my skin in winter. Of course, none of these are impossible to overcome if I want it bad enough.
I think I really want to start attending group classes or increase strength with weights and equipment. I’m in a behavioral change stage called ‘contemplation’. I’m thinking about it, working through the negatives and positives. But once I think I’ve figure out a way to attend a center one thing always stands in my way.
I don’t know what to wear.
So, I called the director of the Chelsea Wellness Center, Cindy Cope. I asked her to tell me what someone should wear for a variety of activities, regardless of what gym/wellness center they use.
The first thing she said is “For the most part, it doesn’t matter. People who work in the health and wellness industry are just happy to see you being active. Members at our facility show up in all sorts of clothing, from specialty wear to one of the 30 T-shirts they have in their drawer at home.”
Since I wanted more specific information, she did make some suggestions.
Swimming and water aerobics – Wear a comfortable suit in which it’s easy to move around. It’s not necessary but some people wear water shoes – they don’t have to be fancy. The shoes provide support and reduce slipping in the pool and on the deck.
Aerobic, line dancing, step aerobics and other active group classes – Comfortable, non-restrictive clothing that absorbs sweat. Again, any t-shirt is fine. Moisture wicking fabric is a nice treat but completely unrequired.
Shoes are the most important part. They should be supportive and rubber soled.
Most gyms require ‘indoor shoes’ to avoid tracking mud, stones and other messy things into the facility because outdoor grit destroys specialty floors and leaves a mess for other members.
Weight or aerobic machines – Whatever is comfortable even including street clothes. Make sure the cloths are not too baggy (although they need not be form hugging) since you don’t want to get caught in moving machine parts.
Yoga and Pilates – These activities require freedom of movement. Many women wear cropped pants out of stretchy fabric, but it’s not required. You may find yourself upside down (think downward facing dog pose). Keep that in mind when you select a shirt/T-shirt. You can be barefoot if you like.
Spinning (indoor bicycling in a group) – You can wear your regular work-out shoes or specialty shoes with clips for the pedals. You will be more comfortable with cycling shorts, which have a padded seat. But they aren’t required. Like riding your bike outside, baggy-legged pants won’t work.
I am not making any promises, but with this information I will try to overcome my other excuses, and join a class.
Maybe I’ll see you there.