Can Activewear Change Our Eating Habits?

Can Activewear Change Our Eating Habits?

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that lockdown is a time for elasticised waistbands and sweatpants. If activewear was a meme in the past, it became a wardrobe staple in the present. With no offices to be in and little to mark the passing days, we traded rigid denim and bodycon dresses for the luxury […]

by | Mar 5, 2021

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that lockdown is a time for elasticised waistbands and sweatpants. If activewear was a meme in the past, it became a wardrobe staple in the present. With no offices to be in and little to mark the passing days, we traded rigid denim and bodycon dresses for the luxury of sweat-wicking materials and cotton leggings. Some might have bemoaned the prevalence of leggings, claiming such things should be reserved for the gym alone, but it turns out activewear can actually influence our behaviour for the better. 

Science has shed light on a psychology termed ‘enclothed cognition’. In an interview with Body and Soul, Sarah McMahon, psychologist and director at BodyMatters Australasia, described the phenomenon as the following: “What we wear impacts our mood, choices, behaviour and attitudes…these processes include our own attitudes towards ourselves and subsequent behaviour. It also relates to how other people relate to us.”

She added, “Specifically, the more you like your appearance and feel good in certain clothes, the more likely you will feel good more generally.”

In the case of activewear, slipping into a pair of form-fitting tights and a tank top actually has the benefit of influencing our desire to be healthier. In a survey sponsored by Chobani Australia of more than 1,200 Australians during the height of the pandemic, it found that 30 per cent reported they were more inclined to eat healthier when wearing activewear. 

This could also explain why, for most, the hardest part of the workout is simply getting dressed to get it done. “The process of operating outside our body and looking at ourselves leads us to self-surveillance, which is generally very unhelpful and does not make us feel good about ourselves,” said McMahon.

When it comes to activewear purchases, 75 per cent of women under 40 stated that looking good in their activewear was the main driving factor behind making a purchase. But if activewear can influence our choices for the better, what does it say about those close we negatively associate with?

Well, for anyone who felt lethargic and lazy during lockdown after spending their days in an unwashed hoodie and stained sweatpants, there’s a reason for that too. McMahon cites wearing pyjamas while working from home as an example of a choice that can lead to poor mental health. “This concept of enclothed cognition is true if you are ‘dressing up’ or ‘dressing down,’” she says. 

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8 Of The Best Exercise Shorts That Will Power You Through A Summer Of Movement

It’s official: Shorts Season is officially here. While lockdown has seen many of us realise that activewear is less something to be worn for a workout and more a uniform we choose to do any and all daily activities in, when the warmer temperatures roll around, that favourite pair of sweatpants and leggings sometimes don’t cut it. Sure, they might be a staple in any wardrobe, but the Aussie sun doesn’t listen to reason, no matter how comfortable or cute it might be. And when it comes to summer, working out in leggings can feel like being trapped in a sauna, the sweat pooling at your ankles and around the waistband – as well as those other areas we won’t mention here. 

But as we transition from leggings to shorts, it becomes clear pretty quickly that not all shorts are created equal, and certainly not all shorts are fit for a workout. Take it from us at Women’s Health HQ, we’ve been there, tried it and lived to see the consequences. From the shorts that look cute but ride up to show your undies on the run, to those that feel like being strapped into a harness that’s digging into your hip bones. Then there are the fabrics that can cause chafing – a big no – and those that basically shine a spotlight on any area you might be sweating. 

Thankfully, a number of brands are here to cater to your exercise needs with innovative materials, fabrics and sustainable options to see you through a summer of movement. Regardless of your workout preferences or daily activity, we’ve selected the best shorts that will ensure you feel good in your body, shorts that get you excited to embrace the day and attack it with energy, that make you want to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, whether it be walking, running, or socialising in the park. Here are our pick of the best bike shorts below. 


Uptown Biker, $240

What says summer more than a pop of orange and the sleek shape of these Nagnata biker shorts? With its mid-length and horizontal raised rib side detail, these are shorts you can wear both for a workout and out to meet the girls. Made in Australia with a technical knit fabrication, the double-layer jacquard provides gentle sculpting qualities for the body, making it an excellent choice for light to moderate fitness activities like yoga, pilates or barre. 

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New Balance

Q Speed Fuel Short, $70

We love the colour of these shorts from New Balance which are cut with a sleek, speedy look that also helps to elongate the legs. Featuring NB DRY moisture wicking fabric, these are the shorts you want for high intensity exercise or long runs, keeping you comfortable and dry. There’s also an interior brief for added comfort and a stash pocket to keep your essentials. 

All Access

Ultra High Rise Zip Front Biker Short, $78

Yes, the colour is amazing but the fit is equally sensational on these All Access shorts. For those who love a high-rise fit and wide waistband that holds you in at the waist, look no further. The sleek, shiny look offers mid-compression and the fabric is moisture-wicking, so you can stay comfortable even during your sweatiest workouts. 


Nike x Naomi Osaka Utility Short, $90

Few things are worse than heading out the door for a run and realising your shorts offer no pockets for those essentials you need. You’re left to hold your iPhone, keys, and anything else you might need in your sweaty palm. Thankfully, Naomi Osaka knows what we need when it comes to exercise shorts and these utility shorts from her collaboration with Nike offer all that and more with a relaxed fit and elastic waistband. 


Session short Tights, $72

When it comes to bike shorts, you want to feel supported and held in but you also want to be able to breathe. These Tracksmith session short tights are exceptional in offering support while still ensuring comfort remains a priority. Forget about chafing, these shorts won’t ride up and down and the fabric offers more coverage and support against the body. 

Outdoor Voices

Relay 3” Short, $48

Who said summer shorts have to be boring? Outdoor Voices brings fashion-forward style and playfulness to their collections with fun prints and exciting colours. We love the relay 3” shorts for their ultralight, quick-drying fabric that also happens to be made from recycled polyester. But more importantly, we love the print and Poppy Swirl is as good as it gets. There’s even a hidden pocket for your valuables, too. 


Align High-Rise Short 6”, $69

If you’re familiar with the buttery-soft feel of Lululemon’s tights, you’ll want to get your hands on a pair of their shorts, too. Made with the same Nulu fabric that their tights are known for, these shorts feel weightless and super soft. They might be our go-to staple for any workout, but the feel is so second-skin that it’s hard to not wear them for every other activity, too. 

Spiritual Gangster

Seamless Biker Short, $112

These biker shorts from Spiritual Gangster move with you, thanks to a three-tiered compressive waistband that offers a flattering high waist that hugs you in all the right places, without proving constrictive. They offer medium compression but are built for all day comfort, and the colour is a true summer staple because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love tie-dye?