How to Exercise While Dressing Modestly


While many exercisers are comfortable working out in shorts and a T-shirt, some may be shy about their bodies and prefer to cover themselves more completely. Others may observe religious proscriptions about dressing modestly, while still others may simply prefer to avoid becoming eye candy. Whatever your reasons, you don’t have to sacrifice fitness to retain your modesty.

Things You'll Need

  • Sweat clothes
  • Swimsuit
  • Head covering
  • Wear sweat clothes. Loose-fitting sweatshirts and pants can cover your legs, arms and torso completely while leaving you free to do your workout. If you exercise intensely or outdoors in hot weather, select clothes that wick the sweat from your body so you’ll remain more comfortable. Spill a drop of water on a garment to test its wicking abilities. Ideally, the garment should absorb the water quickly.

  • Swim while wearing a burqini, a swimsuit that covers a woman’s body from head to ankles, leaving only her face, hands and feet exposed. You can also choose from many other varieties of modest swimwear.

  • Wear a hijood -- a head covering that wicks sweat off of the skin -- if you’re a woman who wishes to cover her hair completely. At the 2008 Olympics, for example, Bahrain’s Ruqaya Al Ghasara reached the women’s 200-meter semifinals while wearing the garment. If you don’t need to cover all of your hair, choose a cap, head scarf or bandana made from wicking materials.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you find it difficult to work out while dressing modestly, you may wish to take up winter sports, in which your normal attire will necessarily cover your body. Women’s-only health clubs are also common.
  • All else being equal, you’re going to sweat more when you cover large areas of your body while working out. Drink plenty of water while you’re exercising to replace lost fluids and prevent dehydration.
  • Consult a doctor if you’re starting a new exercise program, particularly if you’ve been inactive or have any health concerns.

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