Asquith yoga wear

My plan to return to running has reached a standstill. Too long spent in one position at the computer screen, and not enough time moving around, stretching and generally having a life – and the recurring back injury has returned. It’s time to address the problem. The plan is to go to machine-based Pilates once a week, I only stopped because of the expense, but seriously, my back is worth it; and to make better use of my stand-up sit-down desk and the yoga mat still wrapped in plastic underneath it. Inspired by Davina McCall and the Ryvita Positivity Panel (particularly Jackie’s story of her 12-year-old Jack Russell, Rusty who keeps on running because he doesn’t realize how old he is), this year I’m determined to get back on track. Here are my six favourite pieces of sportswear that, along with a few everyday stretches, will help me on the way:

The best sports bra

Whether you’re running, dancing or doing the Downward Dog, a decent sport bra is essential. I’ve found the best way to reduce unnecessary bounce when I’m jogging around the park is with a Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra, available from A-G cup. For larger bra sizes check out Simply Be where brands including Panache, Royce and Elomi go up to sizes J and K. And have a look at Freya Active’s best-selling ‘Epic Atomic’, a moulded, underwired crop top.

Photo: Zakti activewear

The best leggings

Not the cheapest leggings on the starting block but Nike Epic Lux (£74.95) are made from a ‘power fabric’ that feels super-supportive and the wide waistband is brilliant for keeping everything neatly tucked in. Last year, Nike launched Plus Size apparel designed in sizes 1X to 3X (sizes 22-32). Should you be looking for something a little snazzier than plain black leggings, Born Nouli has a gorgeous line in fancy pants including leopard, palm and marble-effect print. Check out Bodyism’s collaboration with Emilia Wickstead and Bellum Active’s striking snake print. For some lovely (not-clingy) yogawear, try Asquith London.

On The Rise sweatshirt

The best post-workout top

Warming down and then layering up after a sports session is the key to not feeling stiff the next day. And at my age (54) that is important. Fashercise is a good place to go for workout gear and we should all own one of On The Rise’s ‘Wonder Woman’ slogan sweatshirts. Not technically sportswear but Hush has a good selection of cotton hoodies and sweatshirts that are chic enough to do a lap of the coffee shop afterwards.

Asics trainers


The best trainers

All sports have their own specialist footwear, for running I’ve tried all the big-name brands and found Asics to be the best. I’m currently sporting a new pair of the Gel Kayano 24 to help with over-pronation, and trying to #getmore Pilates into my life so that my back doesn’t go every time I run over 5K.

The best swimsuit

It’s got to be Speedo. The classic swimsuit literally lasts for years, resists chlorine and given a quick rinse after the pool, doesn’t fall apart. The Essential Endurance + Medallist swimming costume comes in plain black or navy and is a thicker four-way stretch fabric that doesn’t feel too flimsy. And it’s a bargain at 24 quid. I’ve just replaced mine after about five years of lane-swimming and though the seams were looking a bit tired – it still didn’t have those embarrassing see-through patches on the bum and boobs. Speedo’s Sculpture range of swimming cossies are designed to shape and smooth and support the bust and go up to size 24.

ProViz cycling jacket

The best hi-viz cycling jacket

One good thing about being freelance again is that I’m back on my bike a bit more. Cycling to and from a shared workplace several days a week, after a few narrow misses, I decided it was time to up my game and buy a reflective jacket. The Pro Viz Reflect 360 is the ultimate piece of kit and its glow in the dark properties are impossible to miss. Particularly when I go to the loo in the middle of the night and spot it hanging in the hallway….


Asquith yoga wear

Ryvita has teamed up with Alyson Walsh to be part of their Positivity Panel alongside Davina McCall. The panellists were handpicked to help inspire women across the nation to feel confident and happy, whatever their age, through advice, tips and tricks.

Head to to find out more.

24 thoughts on “My six favourite pieces of sportswear: activewear that works hard during a workout (sponsored)

  1. Nice roundup – two of my favs in this list. I love my born nouli leggings in tropical palm prints – large fits me as a size 16 and they make me feel stylish and supported when exercising. The Pro Viz is a must for cyclists – my kids and husband both have this jacket and it is ace and unmissably bright. I’m still in fluro myself, but planning an upgrade…

    1. Hi Robin, thanks for taking the time to comment. Most of the companies mentioned offer international delivery, though there is usually a charge for this. Maybe I should do a US round-up…any suggestions?

  2. Snap! Must be a summertime feeling? My latest blog post is about starting an exercise routine at 50! I know I should be moving more but like you, find it hard to step away from the computer. I love that you cycle Alyson, great for reducing the carbon footprint and flab I need to buy a bike first though.

  3. I agree with Gretchen re Athleta and just bought some Chelsea Cargo pants in dark olive green because I needed something to wear to Pilates that could also pass for non-Athleisure when I’m in a hurry and I’m really pleased with them. The fabric is super light, the details are discreet and not too sporty and the fit is perfect. They also have several pockets which is very important to me. Pockets = freedom from handbag.

  4. I live in Canada and am a walking , hiking , yoga and snowshoeing kind of gal and love everything Icebreaker , a New Zealand based company whose clothes are made from merino wool and have the best wicking capability and are all natural fibres . Skhoop, a Swedish company makes the best down feathered skirts , perfect for winter time outside activities . I have a couple of their skirts and love them for winter hiking and snowshoeing .

  5. Thanks for these suggestions Alyson. I’m with you on Speedo bathing suits. Excellent and last for ages. I wear the Sculpture range ones which have enough bus support for me Another brand I’ve bought and wear is Arena which had a range catering for a C cup chest. Perfectly flattering and functional. With a pretty printed sarong even these functional type bathers can look perfectly good.
    I’m wearing a mixture of Lululemon cropped leggings, years old but going strong, combined with a brand I found at TKMAXX called 90 degree by Reflex. A Lululemon lookalike according to reviews but at a fraction of the price. Really stay put for yoga and Pilates stretching. Far better than my Gapfit ones I keep tugging up.
    I looked at Asquith yoga clothing at the recommendation of an earlier posting about exercise clothes. Have yet to order any but they look attractive. I wear normal hoodies post exercise from either Uniqlo fitness range or H & M. They work fine

    Like you I’ve done machine Pilates in past but can’t pursue right now due to cost. But did attend excellent small mat classes with a lot of supervision and props like balls. I really enjoyed it and it helps me in combination with my regular yoga sessions. Good luck sorting out your back problems. Have you tried a good physiotherapist? They have got me on the road to recovery after leg injuries feet injuries and nearly two summers ago terrible knee problem on right leg. After a few sessions and my pursuing swimming and yoga and mat Pilates I managed to recover. But I don’t sprint anymore nor do I try to run. Every day I’m grateful to be able to walk at a fast clip and to be painfree.

  6. We have similar items here in the states. I just bought a pair of Nike Dry Training pant that has stirrups. The fit is true to size. I found mine on line at Nordstroms. For running I have the same running shoe you do. I tried Brooks Ghost 10 but I had knee issues with them. For trail runs I wear Sportiva. Love these shoes. As far as bras go, they all stink.

  7. I’m with Mrs Tonia!

    As a rotund size 16(UK) I love 90 degree by Reflex. I started running last year, aged 60, and find the leggings stay put….no rolling down under my stomach! I wear a M&S zip up front sports bra designed for post mastectomy. Although I don’t need this style I find it’s perfect for keeping the pups in place!
    Great article

  8. Alyson, good workout clothes are also worth a lot to me, because they encourage me to put them on and do something!

    The best exercise I’ve gifted to myself in a long, long time is — you know what I’m going to say, everybody says it, and here it comes again — yoga.

    You probably know everything I know about yoga — it’s important to find a good teacher, keep going to class, and gradually supplement your classes with a home practice.

    Also … if you can create a daily meditation practice, even for 15 minutes a day, it might change your life. Eventually. No matter how poorly you do it. If you keep doing it. 😉

    Very best wishes. 🙂

  9. I’ve been doing pilates twice a week for the past ten years following years of yoga and all I can say is that it should be compulsory! I’m now 70 have never been ‘sporty’ but was good at yoga and continue to enjoy hill walking., but am convinced pilates is really important. Liking your workout clothing list, I feel I need to start swimming so am going to check out the speedo swimsuit.

  10. You know what. I don’t give a hoot what I look like exercising. At 53, with a severe back problem, with a hyper mobility problem, with weak core problem, I have been forced to listen to my body, shut up and bleeping take it easy. I now cycle 100 miles a week, 9 months ago I couldn’t cycle a mile. How I look doing it is of no interest. That’s not to say I don’t love you all who do bother!! Xx

  11. Chiming in from Sydney, Australia to mention a brand that started here but has now moved to the US: Vie Active.
    The merino wool component of some items makes for great looking and feeling zip up jackets and tees that wick sweat away from your body. The light zip up jackets are genuinely warm and funky enough to look good with casual outfits too.
    The tights are gorgeous designs that make me feel great when I’m at the gym or speed walking around the harbour- and I believe they’re on sale now

  12. So are there any cyclists out there who can advise on a style problem? I take a fair bit of exercise but always feel I should use my bike more. Years ago when I cycled a lot we didn’t wear helmets however I’ve now been convinced of the need to wear one. Problem I have short hair and when I cycle my hair looks really awful when I take the helmet off. Ok if I’m just going to nip out for a loaf of bread but not ok if I’m going out for the day or to an event. Are some helmets better than others? Am I alone with this problem? Do I have an abnormally sweaty head? Need to solve this before I even get to thinking about what to wear on the bloody bike!

    1. Hello Maureen, I’m going to do a follow-up post on cycling. Like you I cycled a lot years ago and am back on the road again and really enjoying it. I don’t have loads of fancy kit, just the hi-viz jacket but I do have a cycling helmet solution!

    2. Hello Maureen,
      I fell off my bike last Sunday and, although my DH told me I was conscious and talking, I had about 20 minutes of memory loss. Got checked out at A&E (CT scan etc.) and appear to be fine. We weren’t going fast at all and I was wearing a helmet and the damage would have been a lot worse if I hadn’t. Some helmets are definitely better than others and I would say buy the best helmet you can afford – do not go for a cheap option as they will not protect you. My helmet is a Kask Mojito (I got it from Wiggle for about £110) and it’s worth going to a local bike shop to make sure it fits properly. As for style hair issues when you take the helmet off: I’ve got shoulder length wavy grey hair and a fringe, that always looks messy, so I wear a buff under my helmet to keep it under control, which works really well. The other thing to try is a cycling cap (also under the helmet), so it still covers your hair when you take the helmet off. You also don’t get clumps of hair sticking through the gaps in the helmet and, if a cycling cap suits you, as it probably would if you’ve got short hair, they look really good. The buff/cap also helps absorb sweat and, if it’s really hot, can be soaked in water to make you cooler (although not fab for the hairstyle admittedly).

  13. BAM clothing, made from bamboo, is very good for all sports and also the environment. Lovely and soft feel next to the skin, good as a base layer and just for lounging too. Sold online only I think. Reasonably priced especially on sale.

  14. Hello! I need some new leggings so will investigate your very timely suggestions, thank you! Just wondering… why no mention from you or any commenters so far about Sweaty Betty? I’ve always been impressed with their stuff, and have had good experiences with their leggings in the past… my particular concern is being able to cycle or do deep squats in the gym without everyone behind me being blinded with TMI. And I’m a bit reluctant to buy from sweatshop-prone brands like Nike…. Great to hear you’ll do a piece on cycling wear – can’t wait! For the commenter, MaureenC, looking for helmet solutions, my friend has something called a Hovding – expensive but gets round the problem. I wear a really smart helmet by Thousand, looks great on, but probably won’t solve MaureenC’s hair issue.

  15. Oh, and can I just point everyone in the direction of (nothing to do with me… but I love them and they appeared on the scene years ago, they were a godsend for me!)

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