When Should You Wear Compression Clothing?
We love compression clothing. The science is finally beginning to demonstrate what athletes have known for years: compression garments improve recovery and performance, while reducing the risk of injury and generally making you feel great.
The real question is, once you have compression clothing, when should you wear it? You can only reasonably wear these clothes so many times (assuming you plan on washing them), so it is important to use them to get the best possible effects.
Aside from the fact that Compression clothing is a great way to stay warm, research points to the fact that there are also small increases in performance noted when wearing compression clothing during bouts of exercise. If you’re an athlete, you already know that these small improvements add up, and can increase the value of your training in the long-run.
Training for many sports also requires difficult, complex movements that involve large ranges of motion, which can easily become difficult in baggy or non-elastic training gear. Compression clothing doesn’t have this problem and allows for maximum movement without the restrictions seen in tracksuits or other workout clothing.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, compression clothing can actually reduce the chance of injury. Especially in sports where joint impact through the lower body is unavoidable (such as running or weightlifting), compression around a joint can shield it from the worst of these effects, and keep you healthier while boosting performance. There are no downsides to this: improved performance and reduced injury are the holy grail of performance enhancements!
Recovery is key to progress and development in any sport – if you’re recovering poorly, you will improve slower than necessary, and will be more likely to develop an overuse injury. Compression clothing is useful here, and should be worn for prolonged periods of time between training sessions.
The improved blood flow that is caused by compression clothing is a great way to improve nutrient transport into the muscle. This is important post-workout to maximise recovery and ensure that you’re making the most progress for the same amount of effort. This is an incredibly simple method of improving your recovery that has much greater long-term effects than you might think!
If you’re a frequent flyer, or you’ve ever had the unpleasant experience of long coach bus rides, you may already know about the importance of compression clothing during long journeys. Compression socks can help maintain circulation during these arduous journeys, which stops you from experiencing jet lag and severely reduces the onset of ‘pins and needles’, and can keep your limbs healthy even when they are not being used as much as they should.
Extended periods of sitting have been shown to have devastating effects on metabolism and circulation, so it is important to take whatever steps you can during long travel. Compression socks and leggings are both great ways to achieve this.