What NOT to Wear When Exercising

What NOT to Wear When Exercising

Forget fashion – what you wear to the gym (or when exercising outdoors) could be messing with your workout.

When it comes to working out, motivation plays a big part in determining your success, but what you wear also matters. So, before you lace up your favourite sneakers or pull on your go-to sports bra, we give you the skinny on what you should refrain from wearing (and using) to maximise your sweat sessions.


Trying to score that hourglass figure through the use of corsets? You might want to think twice before wearing them during exercise.

What Our Expert Says

“While some people do have to wear corsets for medical reasons to protect their spine, it is not advisable for corsets to be worn in general during exercise. A tight corset cuts down your vital lung capacity by up to 40 per cent, even at low to moderate exercise intensities. Due to that limitation, your body is restricted to drawing shallower and faster breaths even when doing light exercises. Besides restricting one’s breathing, corsets may cause dizzy spells due to the build-up of carbon dioxide in the blood.”

Dr Derek Li, General Practitioner, Raffles Medical

Advice for those interested in corset training:

Think again. You may get more than you wish for.


Let’s face it! We all want to look good while we exercise. Even though we know that wearing make-up during a workout may not be the greatest idea, we still do it nevertheless.

What Our Expert Says

“It’s not advisable to wear make-up while exercising. When combined with sweat, these cosmetics may clog your pores, resulting in blackheads, whiteheads, acne breakouts and irritation to your skin. Wearing no/minimum make-up allows your sweat glands and pores to open up and release heat freely.”

Dr Rachael Teo, Specialist in Dermatology & Consultant, Raffles Skin & Aesthetics Centre

Advice for the hardcore make-up wannabe:

Try to pick make-up with light coverage and has an oil-free formulation. Heavier coverage and oil-based cosmetics are more likely to get caught in your pores, trapping sweat underneath. Dr Teo recommended that one should cleanse their face immediately after a workout to get rid of the sweat and dirt on the face to prevent further skin problems.


You are bound to experience a combination of heat, sweat and friction in your nether regions while you exercise, and wearing thongs may just make it worse. Though it eliminates the visible panty line (VPL) look under your fitted exercise outfit, it also poses some risk to your vagina.

What Our Expert Says

“Thongs may prevent wedgies and panty lines since it stays close to your body but health-wise, it may not be suitable for all women. Due to its tight-fitting nature, thongs slide back and forth as you exercise. This makes it easier for faecal bacteria to be transferred to the vagina, leading to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and/or vaginal bacterial infections in those who are susceptible.”

Dr Siow Woei Yun, Specialist in Urology & Consultant, Raffles Urology Centre

Advice for thong lovers:

Opt for cotton underwear to help keep infections and bacterial growth at bay.


This has certainly become one of the latest running craze for both women and men alike. Barefoot-running enthusiasts believe that running without shoes or in thin-soled shoes reduce the risk of injuries and back pain since it mimics our natural movement.

What Our Expert Says

“Transitioning to minimalist shoes is definitely stressful to the bones as indicated in a US study. In fact, those who transitioned too quickly to minimalist shoes suffer an increased risk of foot stress fractures and bone marrow edema (inflammation causing excessive fluid in the bone) than those who run in traditional sports shoes.”

Dr Lim Yeow Wai, Specialist in Orthopaedic Surgery & Consultant, Raffles Orthopaedic Centre

Advice for aspiring minimalist runners:

It’s always best to stick to traditional options that have a structured cushion to support your arch. This avoids excessive impact and stress to one’s foot, ankle, knee hip and spine. It also reduces the chance of getting skin and soft tissue injuries to your foot.

Leave your jewellery at home

Trying to create a fashion statement at the gym? No way. Just imagine having your bracelets or hoop earrings catch onto your workout clothing or even worse, gym equipment! Definitely not a pretty sight.