Fitness

Can wearing compression gear really help you recover?

A fitness expert looks at the facts. 

Photo: iStock

You’ve seen people sporting the latest compression gear in the gym, on the field and running past you on the street, but do these compression garments enhance your recovery? As it turns out, there is a good chance that they might.

Studies on compression have outlined numerous benefits particularly when it comes to recovery. One study examined the effectiveness of lower limb compression as a recovery strategy following exercise-induced muscle damage. Seventeen female volunteers were involved in an exercise protocol designed to induce muscle damage. This study indicated that individuals who wore SKINS lower limb compression garments for 12 hours following exercise inducing muscle damage, experienced up to 20 per cent less functional muscle decrement and lower perceptions of muscle soreness in comparison with individuals who had a passive recovery.

Another study using an MRI took 11 subjects to demonstrate the change of muscles during recovery. After only 1 hour of wearing the compression the results showed significant enzyme improvement in the restoration of muscle membrane.

In another example, the University of Connecticut did a study on both men and women. They decked out their subjects, who were weight lifters in whole body compression garments and after a weightlifting session found that the compression indeed helped both the Male and Female weightlifters have reduced soreness, swelling, fatigue and other post exercise pain.

Essentially, wearing gradient compression tights (like SKINS, for example) can help accelerate the body’s natural recovery process. Here are a few of the other benefits that wearing compression can have on your recovery:

Improves Muscle Stability

Compression technology wraps tightly around your muscles to support and stabilise them while you train. This stability reduces muscle vibration which can cause soft tissue damage, premature fatigue and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness aka “DOMS” aka not being able to walk properly the next day cause your muscles are so sore.

Improves Circulation

When our body has healthy blood circulation it delivers oxygen and nutrients straight to your cells. By wearing the correct compression technology, it can accelerate blood flow velocity helping to pump lots of oxygen and nutrients to your cells, fueling your muscles and enhancing your recovery and cell repair. For this reason, they can also be great to wear on a long flight to promote healthy circulation and reduce the risk of health hazards such as deep vein thrombosis. (Due to these benefits athletes have been known to sleep in their compression gear leading up to an event!)

Optimises Body Temperature

Compression has the ability to help your muscles warm up faster which helps reduce the risk of injury and improve your performance. Better circulation also helps you maintain your core body temperature in cool or moderate environments. Plus, the moisture wicking fabrics help keep you dry and comfortable.

So, whether you are an athlete, someone who exercises frequently or someone just taking a vacation to Europe, compression garments might be worth looking (well, running) into.


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