Compression clothing made specifically for athletes, sports people, and exercise buffs has come to prominence in recent years. The idea that one might receive an added performance boost when playing sports or exercising has attracted many people to new brands on the market that swear by terms like dynamic gradient compression and engineered gradient compression. Even though these buzz words attract initial attention, what are the real benefits to wearing this type of clothing?
The Benefits of Wearing Compression Clothing
It’s a common sight to see athletes of all skill levels wearing tight clothing or compression garments. In fact, many athletes in the Olympics have worn compression clothing, and in some cases, it has sparked controversy about the nature of the advantage provided by the clothing. The truth is that just about anyone, not only Olympic-calibre athletes, can benefit from wearing compression clothing. The benefits are almost universal. So, what specific advantages does this clothing actually provide? Consider the following:
- Blood flow: Your heart is a powerful pump that moves your blood throughout your system. Our cardiovascular system works because of pressure and compression clothing adds more pressure to the parts of your body that require a lot of blood during workouts or sports. As the muscles are compressed by the clothing, blood flow to these areas is increased. Compression clothing also helps to move blood back through the veins to the heart after it has offloaded much needed oxygen to muscle tissues, making the system more efficient.
- Support: When exercising, compression clothing causing less vibration in the muscles meaning less soreness after exercise. During vigorous movement and exercise, your muscles move around significantly due to vibration. This can cause micro tears in the muscle fibres, which may lead to soft tissue injuries. When wearing compression clothing, the muscles are supported on all sides by a firm layer that applies extra pressure and prevents excessive vibration and movement.
- Improved recovery: All athletes and sports people will be well aware of the burning sensation after a big workout. This feeling is caused by a build-up of lactic acid in our muscle tissues. Compression clothing helps the body to more effectively eliminate lactic acid during exercise because it makes your blood flow more efficiently. This means that the burn you often feel the day after a heavy workout or playing a sport is minimised, and recovery is improved and shortened.
- Temperature: Many compression clothing brands on the market are made of premium breathable materials. This means that during heavy exercise, sweat can evaporate from the skin surface, leaving you cooler and better able to perform.
Enhancing Your Sporting Life
Like many developments in sports science, compression clothing has some detractors. However, many scientists have come out in recognition of the positive benefits to athletes, those who exercise, and other sports people.
The important thing to remember is that compression clothing is not just for elite athletes or top sports people. There may have once been a time when compression clothing was only aimed at these specific markets and customers due to costs, but these days, affordable compression clothing is available to anyone.