Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Benefits Of Wearing Base Layers

Some benefits of wearing Base Layers 

Have you ever wondered why you may have stiff or sore legs after a long walk outdoors? Or, do you perhaps feel cold after hiking or maybe too hot and need to peel off layers?  Well, if you can answer yes to these questions, then you may need to invest in a good quality base layer - or at least perhaps consider changing your current base layer for one made with alternative and better material.
A base layer is designed to be worn underneath your normal outdoor gear and its key purpose is to ‘trap’ a thin layer of warm air between your body and the material.  This helps to regulate your body temperature.  There are many types of base layers available and these can be made from various materials including Merino wool, synthetic fabrics or bamboo, with each of these fabrics having their own benefits.
So, if you are planning on hiking in cold weather conditions, perhaps on a crisp winter day, you will need to consider a base layer that will help to control your body temperature.  Do consider that if your leg muscles or upper body muscles get cold, then you are more susceptible to injury! It’s important to remember therefore that good quality layers, being used to control body temperature, tend to be made from heavier fabrics, which are better placed to help circulate - and then retain - warm air against your body.
 Likewise, if you are planning a walking holiday in warmer climes, then it would be wise to consider a good quality base layer that will help to keep you cool by ‘wicking’ sweat away from your body. 

Why are base layers always tight fitting?

Designed to be worn under other items of clothing, the main features of base layers include the compression of your muscles, the support and aiding of their natural recovery and the regulation of your body’s temperature.  These garments need to be tight fitting in order for these aspects to be realised. Top performing layers are carefully designed and manufactured to compress muscles before, during and after exercise, thus helping to reduce the build- up of ‘lactic’ acid.  This acid is a very important consideration, as it serves as a temporary energy source when released into your bloodstream, supplying your muscles with strength and energy.  But too much lactic acid when exercising can actually create burning sensations in your muscles ultimately slowing you down, sometimes leading to injury or damage.  Wearing tight fitting layers will help to compress muscles reducing the build-up of lactic acid.  Remember as you walk/hike up hills and mountains, your legs, arms and shoulders are working hard, building up this lactic acid.
Incidentally, 100% cotton T-shirts should never be worn as a base layer. In fact, natural fibres such as cotton are unsuitable for any form of exercise because cotton soaks up moisture, (or sweat), subsequently holding on to this moisture, leaving you cold and uncomfortable.
So, as you can see, choosing the right fabric for your base layer is important and it really is worth taking some time out to do this. The type of fabrics you should choose will largely depend upon the environment you intend to be walking in, and whether you are allergic to any man-made fabrics or natural fabrics.  You should also consider whether you need any additional protection (such as UVC ray protection) and, of course, you’ll need to factor in how much you wish to spend!

In summary:
In summary, the benefits of wearing a base layer are:
·         Compression of your  muscles
·         The wicking of moisture away from your skin
·         Regulation of your body’s temperature

At Cherry Tree Country Clothing, we have a fantastic range of base layers which are available now!  These include bamboo base layers and also ‘technical’ layers. For more information or to browse our collection, please click here   

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