There are so many things that have been touted as good for you when it comes to exercising and developing your fitness that it can be hard to sort out what’s accurate and what’s not.
Certainly diet is important if you want to get fit and maintain your fitness, and for athletes in all professional sports, it’s essential to eat and drink appropriately both before and after events. If there appears to be a lot of concentration on what goes into your body, think also about what you wear when you’re embarking on a training routine or playing a particular game.
What you wear for your sporting activities isn’t all about how good you think it makes you look – it’s also about how your fitness clothing can enhance your performance so that you don’t have to put in extra training or effort. Not that it isn’t useful to build up your strength and stamina, but today you can help your body by using compression gear on a regular basis.
Compression gear explained
Compression gear is a range of tightly fitting garments, and growing scientific evidence is showing that there are significant physiological benefits to wearing them. Depending on what sports you watch, you’ll probably be used to seeing athletes with skintight shirts, shorts, and socks, often in the most lurid color schemes. Top professional athletes are not known for being shrinking violets, so often what they wear, outside their team uniforms, is an expression of outgoing personalities.
Though more work needs to be done on how compression gear might affect performance, there is little doubt that it has a very positive effect on recovery times after serious physical exertion. You could think of it in terms of a type of massage – and massage is known to reduce soreness and inflammation by the application of pressure to the appropriate body points.
Compression gear acts as a circulatory pump so that blood is pushed through veins, making recovery times faster and ensuring that fatigue and swelling are reduced. All athletes are looking for the edge, and that’s especially the case in athletics track and field events and particularly in endurance races. By increasing oxygen uptake to working muscles, as studies have shown, and reducing levels of blood lactate, wearing compression garments in warm-ups, for the full sporting activity and in the warm-down, cuts right down on recovery times.
Compression gear fabrics
Though synonymous with tight-fitting clothing, compression gear is graded in how tight it is to ease blood flow and also has wicking properties so that sweat pooling is reduced and athletes keep warm. For example, wearing long-sleeved shirts that use wicking fabrics allows athletes to keep warm and dry when it’s raining.
There’s nothing worse than for a runner to be hanging around in the cold on the starting line waiting for everything to get going, especially if there’s a false start adding more to the waiting time. Compression socks such as Copper Fit give you additional warmth as well as providing support for calves, feet, and arches. Socks provide graduated compression and have wicking to keep feet dry. There’s no evidence at present to show that they will make you go faster, but they can certainly help improve your recovery and reduce muscle soreness when you warm down.
Upper body clothing
When the weather is bad, especially if it’s cold and there’s a wind whipping around the training field, compression gear for your upper body will make a major difference to keeping you warm, especially if you’re doing an early morning session. Shirts with long sleeves and round necks will help prevent those unpleasant draughts invading your skin surfaces and make the whole training process much more comfortable. Use them in the gym also to get the advantages of the compression that they give.
These focus on the glutes and the upper leg, and you can find shorts that have padded protection zones. These are especially beneficial for sports that have the risk of impact, such as skiing, cricket, and martial arts, giving you protection around your joints. Cyclists have found that wearing compression shorts gives them a much faster recovery rate than if they didn’t.
Care and comfort
Whatever level of athlete you are and in whatever sport, you need to listen to your body and help protect it when training or playing. Compression gear can produce significant benefits and, of course, you canlookgood at the same time!