We spend so much time putting together our Activewear outfit but have we ever thought about what underwear we should be wearing underneath when we are working out?

Sure we all know that we need to wear a proper sports bra when we are doing high impact sports like running because we have seen enough Berlei Bra TV Ads while growing up in Australia to learn about this.  But what about when it comes to our underpants? aka knickers, panties, g-strings/thongs, boy shorts, bikinis what fabric should we be wearing when working out? what style should we be wearing?  Is our $2 pair from K-mart really good enough?  This is one question I thought we all needed to know so we turned to Dr. Nicole E. Williams of the Gynecology Institute of Chicago to find out what kind of underwear we really should be wearing when working out:

Williams advises not to wear “anything sheer, lace, or silky” when working out. “When you exercise in non-breathable underwear like that, your vagina suffocates,” Williams says, “As a result, you keep more moisture trapped in that area, which increases your risk for yeast infections and pH imbalance, which can lead to vaginitis [a condition leading to discharge, itching, and pain].” While Williams says that thongs don’t cause vaginal problems if you don’t have any existing afflictions in the area, she adds, “Wearing a thong during exercise can bring E.coli living in the rear toward the front as you move, increasing your risk for urinary tract infection,” so briefs or other underwear with more fabric are a safer bet. As for wearing leggings alone without any underwear, if they’re made of sports material with moisture-wicking properties you’ll be fine. Her most important advice: switch your underwear after working out or use the shower right away. “Hanging around in sweaty sticky clothing, cotton or not, is not helpful,” she says, “The longer your body is exposed to that environment, the greater propensity that your pH could become imbalanced and lead to vaginitis.”

Bottom line: Before working out, switch to underwear with more coverage in breathable fabric and don’t hang out in the pair you worked out in for extended periods of time.

Sweat and cotton don’t mix: especially during a workout. Cotton underwear soaks up water and holds it, causing rubbing and possible chafing in your delicate areas. Plus, too much moisture can lead to yeast and bacteria overgrowth — not the outcome you’re looking for from your exercise session. Because it’s inevitable that you’ll sweat down there, cotton and non-performance synthetics — such as rayon — are a definite no-no. Save your lacy satin lingerie for other occasions too — satin doesn’t breathe. Instead, look for underwear made from fabrics such as Nylon, Spandex or Elastane, which wick moisture away from the skin and allow air to flow. These fabrics are stretchy and move with you — especially important when you’re doing Downward-Facing Dog, kicking a punching bag or doing the grapevine in your Aerobics class.

What Style? Whether you choose a full-coverage brief, a boy short, a bikini or a thong is largely a matter of personal preference. What you do want to consider is what feels and looks best under your shorts, pants or capris. Height of the waist band is also important — you don’t want the top of your thong flashing as you do forward bends or deadlifts. If you are a fan of thongs, you might think twice about wearing it in a high-intensity cardio class such as cycling or during a run. The thong may slide around as you work out, causing too much warmth and friction; this can make you vulnerable to bacterial and urinary tract infections.

If you have been struggling with girly issues down below then wearing the right underpants while working out could make all the difference.

Spa it girl xoxo



pic credit: {maxine}
source: {Dr Nicole E Williams}