Thursday, 8 October 2015

What Compression Clothing Can and Cannot Do for You


Anyone who is into running would certainly do anything in their power to have the ability to run faster and have the advantage on the track. Anyone who is into basketball would also definitely do anything they could to jump higher and have the advantage inside the court. 

Well, if you are familiar with compression clothing, you probably realize that these are the things manufacturers promise athletes who buy their products. But, the question is, can compression tights really help you jump higher and can compression clothes really help you run faster?

First, let's take a look at the claims of manufacturers regarding their products. If you observe ads about compression clothing today, you will notice phrases like "explosive power," "long-term endurance," and "increased stamina." According to manufacturers of compression gear, wearing compression shirts and tights can deliver graduated pressure on areas of your body where you wear them and improve circulation on that area, resulting to improved muscle performance.

While there is a degree of truth in these claims, wearing compression clothing won't actually make you run faster as soon as you wear them. This can be proven by several studies done to test the efficiency of compression clothing. In a study done in Australia, a dozen volunteers were asked to run on treadmills wearing compression tights. Unsurprisingly, wearing compression tights did little to improve the endurance of the volunteers and neither of the runners were able to run further and at higher speeds.

A similar test was done at a university in India where more than twenty volunteers were divided into three groups. Each of the group was given a different type of compression shorts, but after the test, the researchers didn't find any benefit of wearing compression shorts in terms of the athletes' ability to jump. Again, no direct benefit of wearing compression gear found on this test.
One particular test, however, discovered something that the two previous tests did not. This particular study was done by researchers in New Zealand. In the study, cyclists were told to ride 40-kilometer time trials for two days. They did the test twice giving the volunteers a week to rest in between tests. 

The result was encouraging - the riders who wore compression tights went up to 1.2 percent faster on the second-day trials than those who didn't wear them. The conclusion was that wearing compression tights allowed greater recovery. According to the researchers, wearing compression tights helped increase blood flow, resulting to faster recovery and refueling for the muscles of the riders who wore them.

Should you wear compression clothing then because of this encouraging news?

It depends. If you're thinking of buying expensive sets of compression gear for your weekly basketball or running schedule, you would rather stick to low-priced compression gear.

If you're joining the Olympics or some big competition, though, and need the benefit of recovery, then you should definitely go for compression gear. Good luck!

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