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Football Girdle

Schutt XP All In One Football Girdle-Technology

Protection, Comfortable And Performance Aiding Clothing In Exercises And Sports Activities

PROTECTION, COMFORTABLE and PERFORMANCE AIDING CLOTHING in EXERCISES and SPORTS ACTIVITIES

Introduction

It has been quite traditional for individuals to be in proper clothing for the sports that they are engaged in for the obvious reasons that it may meet the unique requirements of the sports. Clothing in life provides decoration, comfort and protection within the limits of modesty. Middlemas, (1997), points out that cloth decorate the body, conceal defects and supports top garments. It could denote the rank a person holds or sort of work done or a person’s origin and allegiance. However, clothing in sports combines these functions and in addition, differentiates individuals or teams from one another depending upon the particular sports. It equally offers a psychological advantage since well dressed individuals or teams derive inner satisfaction that creates a sense of feeling good, enhancing personality and self esteem of the wearer(s.).

According to Watkins, (1984), clothing is the most intimate environment and what makes its unique environment is that it carried everywhere with the individual, creating its own room and its own climate within the large climate of our surroundings. Consequently, the need for clothing in sports remains paramount since the sporting environment is laced with unique features that are injury-producing.

Many situations exist in which clothing remains the best protection from impact. In contact sports, body padding provides the only feasible source o protection which Garrick, (1972), views as a unique problem and that although one cannot avert entirely, the injury producing situations when contact with another player results the alternative, he asserts, is to accept the inevitability of the injury-producing situation in sport, and attempt to reduce the likelihood of actual injury. For example, football helmets, shin guards and pads to limit and disperse the force of bodily contact. Equally, new technology such as the introduction of artificial turfs came into use and created the need for changes in protective clothing as a quick and effective way or means of averting the new types of injuries that began to appear. More importantly, increase activity in sports requires a corresponding provision for the greatest possible freedom and safety in clothing to enhance movement and check impact on contact. It is an established fact that if people do not have to work against their clothing they can move effectively.

Perception of clothing in sports

According to Garvin (2003), “Exercise increases heat production. During exercise in both warm and cold conditions, the major dilemma is the dissipation of the heat produced from muscular activity. The use of clothing generally represents a layer of insulation and as such imposes a barrier to heat transfer and evaporation from the skin surface”. The problem of clothing in sports has probably captured the imagination of fashion designers, sports psychologists and coaches for as long a time as any other problem in the field. However, the scope of the field of clothing design for sports creates an approach that ensures balance in the creative strategic control process and aesthetic concern. In response, a new kind of clothing designer must emerge to provide innovative solutions to the clothing problems in sports.

According to Watkins, (1984), clothing in sports is perceived as a scientific area that covers physics, psychology and kinesiology that is closely allied to anatomy, physiology and biomechanics. Perhaps, the greatest branch of kinesiology that offers useful background for clothing designs kinematics that deals with the description of movement variables and not the factors that cause the movement. Thus, clothing used for specific sports must protect the skin from damage, preventing the body from heat and cold in both contact and non-contact sports. Variation in dressing however is based on the particular sport, weather, occasion, societal norms and values, etc. For the purpose of this paper, clothing in sports is regarded as not ending with the fabric but covers such accompaniments or accessories such as shoes, socks, gloves, braces, mask, helmets, shin guards, belts, etc  as required and stipulated in the rules governing the sports and in line with the standard specifications. In essence, any conventional alteration of the body appearance is conceived as clothing. For instance, while a tennis player appears in white shorts and shirt, white canvas and socks displaying beauty for a game regarded as exclusive for the kings and Queens, it would be very funny to see a field hockey goalkeeper attired in mask, gloves, boots and an “oversized” shin guards. Both clothing are unique to tennis and hockey respectively offering protection, comfort and mobility but the accessories of the hockey goalkeeper is purposive to give added protection by disguising the weak points due to the dangerous nature of the game while seeking to maintain optimum movement.

Gavin (2003) found out “clothing can serve a protective function by reducing radiant heat gain and thermal stress”. He stated that recent research suggests that neither the inclusion of modest amounts of clothing nor the clothing fabric alter thermoregulation or thermal comfort during exercise in warm conditions. He suggested that future research should include conditions that more closely mimic outdoor conditions, where high work rates, large airflow and high relative humidity can significantly impact thermoregulation.

Functions of clothing in sports

(a)  Protection:

Clothing designed for use in sports is made by crucially identifying body areas of maximum exposure in order to provide the necessary protection. The use of protective clothing is considered vital for insuring safety of the participants (Dejonge, Ayers and Branson, 1985).The ability to protect the individual or team remains paramount. Clothes worn for specific sports task must protect the skin from damage and prevent the body from heat and cod. The weather plays a significant role in the choice of clothing. It is therefore the place of the coach/physical education instructor to choice he appropriate fabric to protect the individual(s)/team from harsh weather conditions. However, protection and motion are often in opposition in current sports equipment  because when he body is totally protected from impact, body movement is difficult or impossible and where equipment ha placed n constraints on the athlete, protection has usually been  sacrificed (Watkins, 1977).

(b) Comfort and Mobility

Comfort and Mobility are discussed together because they are closely related and when one is aware of the fact that the key element in clothing in sports is to maximize movement (mobility), engender comfort and minimize discomfort, then the attempt to divorce the two would diminish. Ease of mobility is precisely related to comfort and function. Jaffe, (1979), considers comfort as the feel of the fabric, air permeability, and amount of electrostatic cling, thermal insulation and movement of limbs. Muscles, bones and joints working in unison from the system of levers and forces that produces mechanical advantage in just the same way that other mechanical devices sand machinery does making movement possible. Movement involves time, energy and space which are equally dependent on age, sex health, race, body build, conditioning, fatigue, psychological factors – aesthetics and motivation which may influence the degree of movement. Thus, to measure the success of any protective garment, and individual must be able t move in the garment easily without undue strain.

Mobility is often reduced as protection is increased in sports clothing. The rigid materials and the foams used in many items of protective sports equipment such as hip guard, hip girdles, shin guard, chest protector, fem guard etc may limit movement. The possibility being that as more padding is added range and speed of movement may be hampered (Watkinns, 1984). Be that as it may, clothing in sports has always been made with an enhanced ability to expand and contact with the body during movement thereby increasing mobility.

General criteria for clothing in sports

Dejonge, Ayers and Branson, (1985), noted that inappropriate clothing leaves the individual/team exposed and remain the cause of both acute and chronic adverse health effects through dermal exposure and impact. Equally Fayemi and Louisa, (1980), feel that being wrongly dressed for recreation, for instance, a game of tennis or football can be very uncomfortable and ridiculous. In the light of this, several authors (Peterson, 1977; Jaffe, 1979; Watkins, 1977; 1984; Dyson, 1971; Morchouse, 1971) have tried to provide criteria for the use f clothing in sports. An expressive standard is hereby given.

In cold environments, clothing should:

  1. Be garment made of thick fabrics or wear several different garments that are layered over one another so that layers of air spaces are built up in a clothing ensemble. The thickness needed may vary a great deal with the physical activity of an individual and the body’s basic metabolic rate (BMR).
  2. Allow air and water to circulate freely near the body surface so that body moisture vapour can pass off into environment and sweating can be avoided.
  3. Absorb radiant energy from the environment and be non conductive so that the body heat is not conducted to the environment.
  4. Allow freedom of movement (so that the metabolism can be increased through physical activity).
  5. Keep the body core, torso and head warm so that it can send excess heat to the extremities.
  6. Allow adjustable protection so that overheating which causes sweating can be prevented.

Gavin (2003), Noted that most reports do not support an effect of clothing fabric on thermoregulation in the cold; he however recorded reports demonstrating an effect and concluded that clothing construction does alter thermoregulation during and following exercise in the cold, where fishnet construction offers greater heat dissipation.

In warm environments, clothing should:

  1. Provide minimum coverage or maximum ventilation of the body core.
  2. Prevent extra physical effort that would increase metabolism.
  3. Be white or light coloured so as to reflect the sun’s rays to aid convective cooling and evaporation of sweat, if exercising outdoors.
  4. Be made of materials that can absorb sweat.
  5. Such that would prevent heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
  6. Allow freedom of movement.

It is pertinent to note that in warm environments, additional clothing increases thermal insulation causing more rapid increases in temperature during exercise and imposes a barrier to sweat evaporation (Gavin, 2003).

Conclusion

Clothing remains a vital area in sports regardless of how heat acclimatized or hydrated athletes are. It is the area that has fashion designers as manufacturers, athletes and coaches as users and others concerned with movement studies in making participation in sports as safe as possible. Clothing in sports offers protection, comfort and mobility and to achieve these, individuals, athletes and coaches must have adequate knowledge of selection and usage and ensure optimal movement pattern.The conclusion is that while designing clothing in sports remains the sole preserve of the fashion designers, adequate knowledge of selecting and usage to ensure optimal movement pattern rests solely on the users.

References

Dejonge, J. O., Ayers, D. and Branson, D.  (1985). Pesticide deposition patterns on garments during air blast field spraying. Home Economics Research Journal 14, (2) 262 – 288.

Dyson, G. H. (1971). The mechanics of athletics. London: University of London Press.

Fayemi, P. O. and Lousa, G. (1980). Clothing and Textile: Home Economics for secondary schools, Teachers guide. Ibadan: Macmillan Nigeria Publishers.

Garrick, J. G. (1972). Prevention of sports injuries. Postgraduate Medicine 51, 125 – 129.

Gavin, Timothy P (2003), Clothing and Thermoregulation during Exercise.Sports Medicine. 33(13):941-947,

Jaffe, H. (1979). Children wear designs. New York: Fairchild Publication.

Middlemas, M. (1967). Care for your dress. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Morehouse, C. A. (1971). Sports research institute. Journal of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. 42, 31 – 35.

Peterson, J. A. (1977). Conditioning for a purpose: The West Pint Way. New York: Leisure Press.

Watkins, S. M. (1977). The design of protective Equipment for Ice Hockey. Home Economics Research Journal. 5, (3) 154 – 166.

Watkins, S. M.  (1984). Clothing: The portable Environment. Iowa: Iowa University  Press.

About the Author

The author Peter Gbolagade Akintunde is a lecturer in University of Calabar, Nigeria. He has many articles in reputable journals and seven books in his area of specialization to his credit, head Cross River State Nigeria Association for Physical , Health Education, Recreation, Sports And Dance (NAPHER.SD) for 10 years and a consultant in Administration, Organization and Management of Sports and Fitness Programmes.

Charles Bassey O’Neil is an Exercise Physiologist in University of Calabar, succeeded Dr P.G. Akintunde as the Chairman of NAPHER.SD and still the incumbent chairmen, the first Chairman of Cross River State Sports Commission, and has many articles in renowned journals to his credit.

Department of Vocational and Special Education

Faculty of Education

University of Calabar

Calabar, Cross River State,

Nigeria.

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