You have often seen runners wearing compression socks, stockings, or pants when they go out for a run, especially in races. But what are compression garments perfect for?
Do they work?
This article will reveal what compression clothing is, how it works, its benefits, and the types of garments that you can find in the market according to your needs.
Compression Clothing: What is it?
Compression garments began to be used in medicine as a post-operative treatment method decades ago. Its function was the recovery of muscle tissues and the activation of blood circulation. Later it was applied to other specialties such as cosmetic surgery or thrombosis treatments.
In the early 90s, compression clothing was applied to elite sports in disciplines such as athletics and gymnastics. Their main goal was to maintain body heat without sweating in sports that required strength and speed. Under Armor would be the pioneer brand that began
to market this type of garment for sporting purposes.
Today, its use has become widespread and has even become fashionable among the most advanced runners. It’s easy for you to go out for a run and find someone wearing leggings, stockings, socks, or even a full bodysuit that is very tight to the body. Indeed, these are the compression garments I’m talking about, and they are the latest in innovation for runners.
There are many benefits that the use of this type of clothing can bring. However, the main reasons runners usually have when using them are to improve their running performance and accelerate recovery after training.
Compression Clothing: How Does It Work?
We could say that compression clothing is a type of sportswear close to the body that presses on our muscles. This pressure favors blood circulation during exercise (up to 40%) and post-race recovery during rest (up to 30%).
It also works by significantly reducing fatigue during exercise and minimizing ripple effects and muscle vibrations when running, reducing the risk of injury.
Another aspect for which it is worth buying compression clothing is that it helps us improve our correct posture when running. That extra contribution of stability and firmness is ideal for achieving more stable and efficient movements.
There are countless studies done with runners to see if their performance improves with and without them, but none are illuminating. Don’t expect a miracle solution when using them. It is possible to notice improvements in the medium or long term regarding recovery, especially if you do long and intense runs or dedicate yourself to trail running.
Compression Clothing Benefits
Let’s see a list of advantages that you can benefit from if you decide to use compression clothing:
- They maintain body heat and transform sweat into vapor to avoid humidity
- They reduce the discomfort due to vibrations of the impacts made when we run
- Improve and accelerate the recovery of muscles after exercise
- They facilitate the circulation and oxygenation of the blood in the area of the body where it is used
- They improve the drainage of accumulated toxins due to their breathable function
- They help reduce the risk of injury and relieve swelling or inflammation
- They increase the resistance of the runner and reduce the feeling of fatigue in the race
- Reduce the appearance of chafing or blisters
- They can help improve your marks and running performance
- Help improve stability and posture when running
Types of Compression Clothing
Today, there are compression sports garments for practically the whole body: socks, stockings, T-shirts, tights, legs, sleeves, thighs, etc. Depending on the need, there are also different models: recovery, competition, protection, etc.
Let’s see what some of the compression garments most used by runners are for:
- Compression Stockings: they are responsible for applying pressure from the ankle to the calf, reducing vibration. They try to improve performance and facilitate the recovery of the runner after training.
- Recovery Compression Stockings: enhance oxygen levels and blood flow. You can wear them to sleep or throughout the day to facilitate muscle recovery.
- Compression Tights: they are responsible for providing extra support to the knees and quadriceps. Their function is to reduce vibration and significantly improve the runner’s posture since they usually include an abdominal belt.
- Compression Shirts: These are essential to improve the runner’s posture while exercising. This pressure helps to improve stability and firmness in the chest for a greater intake of oxygen.
Where to Buy Compression Garments?
You can find compression garments both online and in your usual sports store. It is no longer an exclusive material for elite athletes, and there are models available in all kinds of stores and adaptable to all types of budgets.
The price of compression clothing may vary depending on the brand, model, and product use. But you can find compression stockings, for example, between $ 30 and $ 100. Try to go to a sports store and follow the seller’s recommendations before buying this type of clothing, especially if it is the first time.
If you buy your compression garments online, you must measure yourself very well and consider the size you need. You will have to make a correct choice since it is too loose or too tight, you will not get the results you expect.
If you think of purchasing compression clothing to use in your workouts, take a look at these websites. They are some leading brands that offer high-quality compression garments.
How to Wash Compression Clothing?
The fabric with which these garments are made is very technical and delicate. Believe it or not, it is essential to be clear about washing this type of clothing so that it does not spoil, lose its properties or stop being useful after the first wash.
Please take a look at the manufacturer’s recommendations, since depending on the material with which they are made, they will require specific care. However, most of them are usually made with elastane, so the washing procedure is generally similar.
The most recommended is hand washing. Rinse the garment in cold water and hang it to dry. If you prefer to put it in the washing machine, use a unique program for delicate clothes and use a regular soap without fabric softeners.
Never use the dryer since the probability that the fibers will spoil is very high. It is also not advisable to use the iron on them. You will only get the fibers to heat up and melt, losing their elastic and compressive properties. If you are still unsure how to wash them, ask the seller or the brand directly before damaging them.
Do You Dare To Try Compressive Garments?
Now you know all the benefits that using compression garments can bring you. Its use will help you improve your performance or promote the recovery of your muscles after workouts.
If you tend to suffer discomfort, cramps, or injuries in certain muscle areas, it would be interesting to try them to see if you notice any improvement.
On the other hand, if you are going to start running longer distances or want to start venturing into trail running, they can also be an excellent option to prevent injuries or improve your posture as a runner. Until you try them, you won’t know, so dare!