Sports Compression Explained
What is Compression Clothing? Here's a brief explanation of how compression works and what the benefits of compression clothing are.
Applying graded compression to working muscles improves blood circulation and that has many benefits:
Compression gets oxygen rich blood from your heart to your muscles faster which means they perform better. Getting fresh blood into the muscle means getting nasty by-products out of them also (most people know the main one which is lactic acid). This is one way compression Improves Your Performance - good stuff in......bad stuff out.
So now you've got working muscles getting fresh blood supplied for better performance! But what about Recovery? Again, getting oxygen rich blood to tired muscles is the key. Like a massage, compression promotes better blood flow to traumatized muscles. Better blood flow means faster and more effective recovery to the muscle cells. It's recommended they be worn for a couple of hours after exercise for maximum benefit.
Besides circulation, compression can reduce your risk of injury and extend your endurance by supporting your muscles.
Visualise a super slow-mo video of a runner's foot striking the ground. Imagine the downward shock-wave through the thigh followed by a reverberation of the shock as the quad bounces back up. All this violence causes the muscle fibres to tear. Don't panic, this is the natural degradation of muscles that lead to fatigue and will recover. What compression does is to act like a firm set of hands gently holding the muscle in place to reduce the shock and to accelerate that muscle recovery as well as reduce it in the first place.
The better you can do that, the less damage you cause and the longer you can go for. Also, you will have caused less damage to recover from. This benefit applies to all working muscles and isn't limited to just legs.
As if all that wasn't reason enough, Compression garments also Control Your Body Temperature in hot and cold conditions. When you sweat in the heat, the technical fabric draws the sweat to the surface of the garment and spreads it over the entire garment to increase your evaporation surface area.
The bigger that area is, the more efficiently you'll be cooled (a bit like having a cool flannel over you on a hot night). In the cold, this evaporation means you'll dry quickly if you sweat and when you're dry, the undergarment helps keep your warmth in. Besides being comfortable, a regulated body temperature conserves energy for your sport - energy that would have otherwise been used fighting temperature fluctuations.