You may have seen marathoners wearing compression socks that are highly fashionable, either half-calf or sometimes full-thighs in length. These running garments are based on the concept that compression apparels can improve a runner’s blood flow to the muscle during running. Hence, it can improve a runner’s performance and aid in the post-run recovery of the strained thigh and calf muscles. But, are these scientifically proven or not? Let’s check out.
Expedite running performance – true or not?
When muscles are compressed, the blood vessels are forcefully opened, allowing more blood and oxygen to flow. This can increase the muscle’s working capacity, especially during high-intensity and endurance running. A study conducted by researchers from University of Newcastle found that improving the working capacity of the muscles can actually improve performance, but does not make runners any faster. However, the researchers pointed out that future studies must still be conducted, because in this study, they investigated a small sample size, which means that findings could still vary if conducted in a much larger population.
Improve post-run recovery – fact or myth?
When runners use compression apparels, it improves the flow of the blood in the working muscles. This can help reduce the pressure and strain in the affected muscles during running, aiding in faster recovery two to three days post-run. This concept has been supported by numerous studies already.
The verdict – compression apparels do help improve the work capacity of the thigh and calf muscles and expedite recovery period, but these garments do not guarantee a faster running performance when used.
I use compression sleeves for my calf. One year I got a pesky shin splint that refused to heal. A local running store recommended using compression sleeves. The compression also keeps my leg muscles from bouncing around willy nilly; therefore, allowing the shin splint to heal and me to continue training. Pain free running helps me run a little faster, but that’s probably not a factor in the study.
I use a compression style underwear when hiking because they stop chafing when it’s hot outside. After a painful hike in Canyon de Chelly I had to find a solution. They are a godsend on long hikes. Cheers, Wooly
interesting. haven’t seen these apparels sold at sports clothing shops yet. at least not here.