Compression tights have several benefits. The popularity of compression gear has grown in recent years but it has been a staple choice of athletes, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts for decades.
The history of compression gear is interesting, not only because of its origin and evolution but due to its root in medical science. Compression gear including tights was not developed for athletes or sportspersons. Compression tights and shirts among others were developed to prevent and slow down the progression of venous conditions.
Compression garments have been used for decades to prevent varicose veins and to prevent the worsening of deep vein thrombosis.
Compression tights can improve blood circulation and relieve pressures within veins. Such garments can alleviate the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, lymphedema and circulatory diseases.
The compression tights available today and geared towards athletes and fitness enthusiasts are developed on the basis of the medical history that has been well documented and the benefits have been proven beyond doubt. Compression tights can enhance the perceived strength in muscles while supporting the full range of motion.
These garments are comfortable and breathable. They increase blood circulation and prevent friction or chafing. Such apparel also prevents muscle fatigue and soreness. There are claims that compression tights work for recovery. Let us explore if such claims are true.
Do Compression Tights Prevent Muscle Fatigue and Injury?
Compression gear is more supportive than normal workout apparel. The sustained optimal pressure as the garment snugly clings on to the body reduces muscle oscillation. Increasing frequency of muscle oscillation, which is unavoidable during intensive workouts, can cause soreness.
Higher and sustained frequency of such muscle oscillation also increases the likelihood of injury. Compression tights can regulate the frequency and keep the muscle oscillation in check.
The findings of a research were recently published in Journal of Sports Sciences. The study had assessed muscle oscillation in some athletes wearing compression tights and others wearing apparels that had little or no compression.
The study got the athletes to run wearing the different types of apparel. Those who were wearing compression apparel experienced reduced muscle impact by as much as twenty seven percent on landing. An athlete running one mile will have around two thousand landings. You can imagine the reduction in the shock of such sustained muscle impact while running.
Do Compression Tights Work for Recovery?
This is a common claim, not just by manufacturers of compression gear but also among athletes and sportspersons. Many truly believe that such garments can help with post workout recovery. Compression apparel can prevent soreness and fatigue in muscles.
Fatigue or weakness and soreness are basically indicators of tissue damage. Such type of tissue damage is very common during and after high intensity workouts. Even joggers are likely to experience muscle fatigue and soreness.
A part of this has to do with nutrition or diet, hydration and overall health. Lifestyle also plays a role. The other part of this has to do with apparel, running posture and fitness. Just as it is possible for bad quality running shoes to cause soreness and fatigue in muscles, it is equally likely effective apparel can play a role in preventive such fallouts.
There is a bit of science behind such claims. Compression tights can improve blood circulation to and from the muscles. This means the muscles get more oxygenated blood and the deoxygenated blood is efficiently circulated away.
There is a natural impact on the blood circulation to and from the heart as well. The lungs too have better circulation. This increases endurance. The efficient blood circulation in the muscles prevents the buildup of lactic acid. Even if there is some buildup already, then compression tights can ease that and effectively get rid of the excess lactic acid.
Muscle soreness has multiple causes. Physical injury, tissue inflammation and other factors can cause soreness. One of the most common causes is lactic acid buildup. Delayed onset muscle soreness is caused primarily due to lactic acid. Lactic acid can get consolidated at many parts of our body.
The most common reason why this happens is due to muscle exertion and if any damage has been caused. Creatine kinase and lactate are the two byproducts of muscle damage and exertion. These must be removed quickly to prevent a buildup.
The findings of a study were recently published in European Journal of Applied Physiology. The research focused on using full leg compression tights or sleeves to reduce symptoms of muscle damage, including soreness and fatigue or weakness, caused by exercise and particularly plyometric training.
Such types of training include explosive exercises such as burpees. The study found that compression tights do reduce the adverse effects of such exercise on muscles and can avoid possible damage, including fatigue and soreness.
Effects of Compression Tights on Recovery and Performance
Compression tights keep up a sustained but optimum pressure. These keep muscles tighter and one can exert more force without causing any postural problem. The reduced muscle oscillation frequency along with increased blood circulation can certainly prevent injury.
The improved blood circulation during recovery ensures the muscles get the nutrients necessary to heal quickly. It is not only possible to prevent injury, soreness and fatigue but also to recovery quickly if you use compression tights.
Compression tights also boost performance. Better blood circulation, available of more oxygen and nutrients, the prevention of lactic acid buildup or the elimination of the byproducts of muscle damage and exertion, enhanced range of motion and correct posture ensured by compression gear can certainly improve athletic performance.
There is some effect on strength. There is a substantial effect on agility and endurance. Muscles need energy and oxygen to sustain or withstand the stress they are subjected to during exercise. Blood circulation, comfort and posture play important roles to keep muscles energized and oxygenated.
Compression tights should be an integral component of any workout gear and apparel. They cannot prevent or cure every type of muscle injury but they can certainly help with post workout recovery.