Would Exercise Work Better if We Did It Naked?

The ancient Greeks found nudity both practical and pleasant and wore draped garments that could be thrown off within seconds if the need arose. They found that training for athletics while in the buff had its share of benefits, but historical evidence also suggests that students attended lectures without wearing a stitch. A lack of clothing was so commonplace, in fact, that it became part of the Olympic Games’ tradition.

When the Olympic Games were revived 1,500 years later in 1896, nudity was no longer in fashion. From the Olympic Games to professional baseball, playing naked is not the norm. But what if it were? Are there benefits we’re missing out on because we wear clothes when we exercise or engage in sports?

These days athletic and exercise clothing is hyper-specialized by sport. Golf clothing has gone from polyester to lightweight performance blends. Crossfit enthusiasts wear specially designed footwear. Runners wear moisture-wicking shorts with built-in undergarments. Athletic shirts infused with antibacterial properties are commonplace.

Better to Bare It All?

Do clothes make us overheat? Constrain us? Or perhaps they simply hide the very thing we are exercising to improve: our bodies. Would it be better if we could see our muscles more clearly while exercising?

Without a doubt, argues Robert Herbst, a personal trainer, coach and professional powerlifter. Based in New York state, Herbst is an 18-time World Champion, 33-time National Champion and a member of the AAU Strength Sports Hall of Fame.

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