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Since the rise in popularity of compression clothing in recent years there has been a lot of speculation around whether or not it actually works. However, there is no denying the benefits that it offers athletes and sports lovers and the way in which it helps to enhance their performance.
Compression clothing is designed to be snug fitting and comes in a range of products such as socks, base layers and t-shirts etc. These pieces of clothing are generally made out of a Lycra or elasticated material, which help to squeeze and hug the muscles that are key to efficient running and exercise. Due to it being made with tighter elastic, it better holds its shape and delivers graduated pressure meaning that compression clothing tends to be tighter around the ankle than the knee.
The main science behind compression clothing is that by applying pressure to particular areas of the body you provide more force to help blood return back to the heart, therefore increasing blood flow without using up extra energy. There are two main types of compression clothing: graduated compression and compartmental compression. Graduated compression helps to increase blood flow back to your core while you exercise whereas compartmental compression is designed specifically for certain sports.
There are numerous benefits from compression clothing that will greatly improve the performance and recovery process for runners. These include core support, better lung performance, improved posture, increased recovery speed and decreased injury risk, to name a few.
Compression tops help to provide core support by supporting the stomach, sides and lower back while on long runs. This means that the muscles in this area are less likely to become fatigued. By supporting the chest and back it also helps to train your breathing style while running and in turn improves your posture.
Compression tights and socks when used as part of a recovery process can help to delay the onset of muscle soreness after a long run. Due to the compression that they provide it also helps to reduce muscle oscillation, cramping and support weakened areas such as the knees while on a run. By gently supporting and compressing areas that are prone to injury such as the calf and quad, compression tights help deliver more oxygen to muscles which in turn keeps muscles warm so that they can work more effectively.
As recovery is an area that runners and athletes are constantly trying to improve on, compression clothing has become increasingly more popular due to the benefits it offers. Wearing compression clothing during and after long periods of exercise can prevent muscle swelling which will result in the delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) and ultimately reduce the recovery time needed after workouts.
Here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic, our chartered physiotherapists are experienced in helping runners during both their training and recovery periods. If you have any questions regarding your training style, our functional training service will correct any concerns that you may have.
To book an appointment or find out more information about our services, contact us here.