Heat illness is no joke. Historically, from 1979 to 2003, excessive heat exposure caused 8,015 deaths in the United States—that’s more than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined for the same period of time! This summer, take precautions against heat illness by drinking fluids, avoiding strenuous activity during the hottest parts of the day, and wearing appropriate warm-weather clothing when working out outdoors, such as one of these three lightweight fabrics.
By Laura Childers
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Wicking is a breathable, high-tech fabric that “wicks” the sweat away from your skin, meaning, it pulls moisture to the outer layer of the material to help it to evaporate quickly. Most often used for athletic or outdoor clothing, wicking often includes polypropylene, the lightest of all synthetic fibers. There are dozens of brands of wicking apparel on the market, and while it may cost you a little more, it’s usually worth the comfort.
Another fabric common in sportswear, rayon is derived from a naturally occurring cellulose, or plant fiber. Soft and comfortable, it’s very breathable and is often blended or woven with other natural and synthetic fibers.
Lightweight, soft, breathable…cotton is great for warm weather because its porous fibers allow air to move from the skin through the fabric. If it’s a particularly humid day or you’re planning on working up a serious sweat, though, cotton may not be your best bet—it absorbs water and doesn’t quickly release it through evaporation. And who wants the feeling of a heavy, wet rag against their skin?