Friday, October 01, 2010

The Benefits of Compression Apparels

What Are the Benefits of Compression Tights?

  1. Compression tights have been scientifically proven to increase athletic performance in runners.
    Now being endorsed by Olympic medalists, compression tights no longer carry the stigma of being "old lady wear". Although medically prescribed for the treatment of varicose veins, lymphedema, venous insufficiency and thrombosis prevention, compression tights may also be purchased from athletic performance gear companies. Various levels of compression are available to suit differing needs.

    Circulation Therapy

    Prescribed primarily for patients who have had surgery and cannot walk, compression tights increase blood circulation in the legs and prevent deep vein thrombosis. In addition to post surgical patients, compression tights are also worn by people suffering from lower extremity swelling (lymphedemea) and/or chronic venous insufficiency.

    Fatigue Reduction

    Athletes such as runners, cyclists, weight lifters and even basketball players benefit from wearing compression tights. Bands on the tights provide levels of graduated compression that promote blood flow and aid in muscle contraction during exercise. These bands also help lactate stay in the muscle instead of releasing into the bloodstream for increased energy. Compression tights also prevent muscle injury by reducing muscle vibration for faster recovery from extreme sport activities.

    Body Temperature Maintenance

    Compression tights are made from materials that wick perspiration away from the skin. The evaporation of sweat is the human body's primary cooling system and compression tights assist with this action, making them ideal for wear in hot and humid conditions. Once sweat is deposited into the fabric of compression tights, it can evaporate faster.

Effectiveness of Compression Tights

runner"s legs image by jimcox40 from
Compression tights are intended to improve athletic performance by reducing muscle fatigue, oxygen consumption and recovery time. Performance tests and research support these claims. Typically worn by sprinters to boost speed, compression tights are increasingly being worn by long-distance runners and other athletes.

    Improved Circulation

  1. According to Running Planet, compression tights improve blood circulation in the muscles. Muscle fatigue is due, in large part, to a build-up of lactic acid, a by-product of the metabolic process of converting glucose to energy. Increased blood-flow clears lactic acid from the muscles, reducing pain and fatigue.
  2. Muscle Contraction

  3. Compression tights reduce the rate of oscillation, the constant vibration of working muscles. The fewer vibrations the muscle experiences, the less energy is used. According to a study of the effects of compression garments on the leg muscles of volleyball players in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, muscle strength and endurance improved after repeated jumping, due to reduced muscle contraction.
  4. Coordination

  5. Proprioception, the sense of the relative position of parts of the body, has been shown to be improved by compression tights. Improved proprioception results in improved coordination, according to a study in The American Journal of Sports Medicine. It is unclear whether it is the compression resulting in the improvement, or the tactile interaction between the tights and the skin's surface.
  6. Muscle Recovery

  7. According to a 2010 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, compression garments improved muscle recovery following exercise-induced damage. The muscle-damage indices included: soreness, creatine kinase activity, knee extensor concentric strength and vertical jump performance.
  8. Additional Research

  9. In 2006, researchers in France published a study in the International Journal of Sports Medicine comparing compression tights to standard running shorts. The researchers monitored six highly-trained athletes for their rate of perceived exertion and oxygen consumption. They found that the compression tights resulted in a 36 percent reduction in oxygen consumption as compared to the standard shorts and a significant subjective decrease in perceived exertion by the runners.  

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