There is a lot of good research that supports the benefits of wearing compression gear, especially when it comes to aiding in recovery from exercise. Elite athletes swear by the benefits, and these people need to be at peak levels of performance to keep their jobs. There is both physiological and psychological benefits to wearing compression gear.
1. Lower Decrease in Performance Between Recovery
In a study researchers looked at 12 cyclists of the average age of 63 who had performed two sets of 5-minute maximum effort cycling sessions with 80 minutes of rest in between each session. This was repeated four times. During the recovery period, one group wore compression stockings and the other group didn’t. Both groups had decreased performance on the second set, but the group who wore the compression gear saw less of a decrease in both performance and lactate production.
2. Less Muscle Soreness
Eleven people participated in a study where they performed in two exercise sessions consisting of 20-meter sprints and 10 bounds for each minute. The second session took place seven days after the first to allow for full recovery. The participants wore compression stockings after the first session, but not after the second. The researchers found that there no differences in performance after wearing stockings, but muscle soreness was less.
3. Decreased DOMS 24 Hours After Exercise
I think we all hate delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Have you ever had a strenuous workout where you were a little sore the next day and thought “hey, this isn’t so bad. I’ll be back to normal in no time!” Then the next day you’re so sore you can barely even get out of bed. That’s DOMS at work! A research team found that after 10 kilometer runs, active men experience less DOMS 24 hours after wearing the compression stockings.
4. Improve Circulation
Most people suffer from poor circulation, especially those of us who are less active. During times of the day when you are the least mobile, for example while sitting at a desk working or while you are sleeping, your circulation suffers. Long-term circulation issues can eventually lead to tissue damage, artery plaque buildup, and stroke. It can also cause pain in your limbs, muscle cramps, and even erectile dysfunction. One way to prevent poor circulation is by wearing compression gear. Compression socks squeeze the blood vessels and force the muscles to contract and move the blood through your body.
Why I Wear Compression Gear
I’ve been a fan of compression gear for a long time. I’ve been wearing compression shorts for years, usually after long cycling sessions. I wouldn’t necessarily say that the benefits I’ve seen are enormous, but the results seem to be noticeable enough to make it worth it in my opinion.
With that being said, I’ve been wanting to pick up a pair of compression socks and the opportunity came recently when I started a discussion with a company who sells compression socks on Amazon. They gave me a pair of socks at a discounted rate in exchange for providing an honest review.
I’ve been wearing these socks every single day. To be honest, I haven’t really noticed much of a difference in my health. But that’s not to say they aren’t doing their job. I don’t suffer from poor circulation issues as far as I know, so I wouldn’t even notice if the compression socks were improving it or not. But I’m happy in knowing that the socks are benefiting my health, even if I don’t notice it.
The socks that I ordered are made of 78% nylon and 22% spandex. The material feels very high quality and breathable too. I hate wearing socks because they make my feet sweat. But I’ve been wearing these socks to bed and my feet do not get sweaty at all throughout the night. They seem to breathe very well.
And lastly, I have not noticed any sort of stretching, even after wearing them for 8 hours per day over the course of 2-3 weeks. They appear to be hihg-quality socks and I’m happy to have them. I might actually buy another pair so that I can have a backup when I need to throw one pair in the washer. You can pick them up for $15.99 per pair, which seems to be the average price for compression socks from what I’ve seen.
So there you go!
I’m a fan of compression gear, but what about you? Have you tried it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
* Photo by Chris Hunkeler / CC BY-SA 2.0