There is an oxymoron in there somewhere when you want to lose weight, but need some athletic shorts in order to do so, and said athletic shorts are made for those who are already athletic. Usually workout shorts work best (as opposed to look best) for those already in good shape. Clingy, short, thin fabric shorts are just not for me!
But before you get discouraged or give up, there are shorts out there for all of us. We may have to kiss several proverbial frogs to find them, but we will find them!
Don’t forget that there are some nice alternatives to athletic shorts. I love cropped style cotton jersey pants, especially in the winter. A jersey fabric provides the give you need when exercising, but the ankles are exposed, which also provides a bit more ventilation for the legs. I do try to avoid the fabrics that make swishy noises when you walk. That gets really annoying when exercising!
However, in a hot Texas summer like I experience, shorts are the only workout gear to fit the bill. I did a lot of experimenting a summer or two ago and found what works and what doesn’t for me. Hopefully you will gain some nuggets as well.
If you have read my blog on how to choose shorts (especially for over 50s), then you are going to notice that the rules are different with workout shorts. You won’t be able to find them in thick, sturdy fabrics. If that is what you are looking for, then just wear your regular shorts.
Here is what I found works best for me:
Make sure the shorts fit you. Is the waist band too tight or too loose? Does the shorts’ crotch meet your natural crotch?
Look for shorts with some give, so that when you exercise, they move with you. Some of the parachute fabrics are great for running but not necessarily great for leg weights and lunges. Also, running shorts tend to be a bit shorter which could cause a wardrobe malfunction in the gym.
Most workout shorts are going to be a thinner fabric, which means you need to find a style that closely fits your leg. An extra inch or two in leg diameter is fine, but anything more will ride up while you are on the treadmill.
As for length, don’t go too short or too long. If you can find a pair of longer workout shorts that fit your legs and body well, then you will probably be okay. Typically, longer shorts that end at a wider part of the leg are going to ride up.
Before you buy any shorts, be sure you walk for several room lengths and march in place for a bit to see if they are going to ride up.
I avoid shorts with the built-in briefs. The briefs tend to cut into my thighs. I usually find the briefs in shorter shorts, which are also something I avoid. If I am walking on my treadmill, I might wear the same outfit a couple of times in a week, which I wouldn’t want to do if my shorts had the briefs in them. If you find a perfect pair of shorts with briefs, don’t forget you can cut that part out.
Find shorts that work for the way you work out. Do you need a key pocket or phone pocket? There are shorts which will accommodate these, so keep looking until you find them. If you do any leg lift maneuvers, then you will definitely want a leg opening that is not much larger than your leg or else you will be exposing your undies to the watching world!
If you are like me, I tend to look for excuses not to exercise, especially when I am first starting a new workout habit. Ill-fitting clothes, nothing to wear, nothing matches, etc. are just excuses to skip. Go ahead and invest in a couple of cute, well-fitted outfits so that you can rotate them, you already know what you are going to wear, and you feel good about how you look in them.
Here are my two favorites, which you might like as well:
Title Nine brand The Original Anti-Run Shorts 5″. Now this may sound short, but they actually work perfectly for me because I am short. Order a couple of sizes to see what works best for you. I usually hide behind my clothes and wear things that are too big, but these actually work best if they are a perfect fit. I ended up going with one pair in a smaller size and one pair in a larger size. The smaller pair is actually my favorite! The larger pair can bunch up once I start sweating because the shorts hang low and the legs are too wide. They currently run $55 on the Title Nine website. Watch for sales, which may include strange colors, but who cares. It is the fit and performance that you want.
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