Compression gear is not just the next fad in sportswear. It actually does have benefits for the wearer. It aids in muscle recovery and fatigue levels as well as having you looking sleek and trim in all the right places. The medical industry has known about compression gear for more than 50 years and support stockings for long haul flights was just the start. Initially compression gear was designed to help with poor blood circulation in the legs. The compression in the material acts to support the flow of blood back to your heart and therefore bringing oxygenated blood to your muscles.
The compression stops a thing called muscle vibration that can lead to injuries like muscle tears and helps to wash away lactic acid that causes painful muscles. You will have less painful and aching joints and muscles as they are supported throughout your exercising and recovery.
Yes, it is supposed to be tight and Yes it is hard to get on but once you get the hang of wearing it you might never want to take it off! Here are some tips for getting the most from your compression gear including how to look after it.
Get the right fit
The most important aspect if compression clothing is to ensure that you get the fit right. Most retailers will have a chart that goes by height and weight against a size of gear. This probably will bear no relation to the size of your street clothes. If you are the border between 2 sizes, choose the smaller one first. This wear needs to be tight but not restrictive and if not tight enough you won’t get any benefit of compression.
Tights will be tightest around your ankles and tops tightest around your wrist. The pressure of compression will ease as you travel towards your heart up your limbs. Bunching behind your knees indicates that the pants are too big and were probably easy to get on.
Compression panels will wrap around your muscles in order to support them and should feel firm but not uncomfortable.
Wear during exercise
Put your compression wear on before you start exercising and wear it to warm up in. Your body will warm up faster and stay warm even if you don’t start training immediately. During exercise it helps support your muscles and will aid with fatigue management and muscle recovery. Your body will feel supported but not restricted.
Most compression wear has a UV 50+ rating so you can wear it as outer wear while training outside. Choose the right gear for the weather. It comes in a thermal range too for colder climates and winter weather. If you exercise outside you can buy compression gear with reflective panels so you are visible to any traffic. The fabric is designed to remove any sweat away from your body thus keeping you warm.
Wear after exercise
In order to lessen any delayed onset muscle soreness that we have all experienced the following day after a workout or sporting game, keep your compression gear on after you have completed your activity. That increased blood flow we talked about earlier will remove any lactic acid build up in your muscles and keep them supported while they recover. Your muscles will also feel less fatigued if you keep your compression gear on.
If possible wear clean compression under your clothing if you have a late appointment that same day. It will make you look trim and fit. No one need even know you have it on.
Wear to bed that night
As strange as this may sound we all have heard that our bodies self repair while we are sleeping. And it is a great time to keep your compression gear on. Of course you may want to change into a clean set first. Your muscles are enjoying the increased supply of oxygenated blood without doing; much work so will recover better from the previous days exercise.
Take good care of your clothing
Compression gear needs to be washed according to manufacturer’s instruction, don’t just throw them in the washing machine with your clothes. Wash them in mesh bag, the sort available for lingerie and delicate clothing. Ideally they should be dried flat out of direct sunlight and never tumble dried.
If your gear gets stretched by incorrect washing you won’t get the desired benefits of the clothing and you may as well not wear them.
Looked after properly your compression gear should stay as good as new and provide you with months of added benefits.
Not just for exercise
Going on a long haul flight? Put your compression pants or at least socks on. They will help prevent you getting deep vein thrombosis.
Ladies if you fall pregnant, wear your pants to support your legs while at work. It will help with any muscle and joint aches associated with pregnancy.
If you have an injury and need to keep that body part warm, wear your compression gear. As well as added warmth the increased blood flow will aid recovery.
You still need to work out
Your compression gear is designed to aid your workouts not replace them. You still need to work hard at your fitness but your recovery time will be shorter and you may suffer less muscle and joint pain and inflammation.
If you do sustain an injury don’t just rely on your compression clothing to do it all. Go and see your doctor about it and see if some physiotherapy or alternate treatment could help.
Compression gear does not only make you look good and feel good it will aid with your fitness routine or sporting game. Recovery times will shorten, your muscles will feel less fatigued and you will be able to get on with your busy life.
Look after your compression clothing and it will last for months and keep offering the much needed support for your muscles.