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Compression Garments the Facts and the Fiction

Compression Garments the Facts and the Fiction

by Chris Williams
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 Through the years, the line between fashion and fitness has been thinning. These two fields have been brought closer and closer to the point of overlapping. More and more people have been engaging in active lifestyles to the point that they are already inserting work outs to their busy day to day schedules. Fitness and athletic equipment have never been more in demand as they are now. Brands continue to come up with ingenious ideas and concepts in an effort to improve performance and protect athletes from incidental injuries while engaging in physical activities that they target. At the same time they aim to bring fashionable designs to users allowing them to pair their athletic gear with casual attires further increasing its popularity practicality.

These days, the functionality of athletic gear has been more of a selling point than its appearance. People in general have become more aware of the importance of picking the right pair of shoes for the physical activities they are engaged with. Running shoes are expected to have good striking surfaces, Basketball shoes to have great ankle support, and other fitness gear being seen for how much they can do more than what they look like. Another type of athletic wear that has been catching the attention of people are compression gear. Compression gear is becoming more widely used for the benefits which they bring and less for its super heroic suit-like appearance.

When you injure your joint or muscle in a game, you would commonly hear of compression garments as one of the first recommendations for recovery. Even people without injuries have started using compression gear as a preventive countermeasure to joint and muscle injuries due to the multiple things that they may have read or were told about regarding compression gear. Wrapping injured joins tightly, or encasing them in a compression garments have complemented the other recovery recommendations such as icing the joint, elevating it , and resting the joint as much as possible – by encouraging a good flow of blood into the compressed area. This also reduces metabolic waste aiding the area improving recovery and healing to be improved. Of its benefits however the most dominant one would be ability to help with the blood flow and reducing pain.

Even medical professionals have been prescribing compression garments to both athletic and non -athletic charges as additional tools that their charges can use to improve the recovery of damaged or injured muscles. Sleeves and wraps have also been known to have positive effects in the reduction of varicose veins and spider veins, and in some cases users have also claimed that they have strengthened their muscles through the use of compression garments. Other than recovery and strengthening they have also been recommended to be used to prevent blood from clotting where they are not supposed to after surgeries.

With its growth in popularity, Compression gear has been sought after by people putting their faith in what these garments are advertised to do. Studies however, have shown inconclusive results regarding to a lot of these claims. The improvement of blood flow is certainly one of the benefits that have been proven and is worth acknowledging. The performance improvement claims however, may have been exaggerated by some ad campaigns.

Research focusing on athletic gear and its benefits have seen concrete biological benefits. In one of the experiments done to see how compression gear affected muscle damages, it was found that the experimental group using compression gear sustained less muscle damage and was able to return to action quicker. Similar experiments have also shown that the perceived fatigue of wearers of compression gear decreased and was attributed to the more efficient blood flow on the targeted area.

Additionally, it has also been suggested that compression gear helped with the healthiness of muscles that working out the following day was done with less pain and fatigue as compared to working out normally without gear. A reduction in the perceived fatigue was also highlighted by other research groups and have said that this factor has improved the performance of wearers.

With all the benefits presented and the research to accompany them, we must never forget that our mentality also attributes to our performance. When we think that we will be able to perform better because of a specific piece of gear it becomes easier to perform things we previously didn’t as our systems react to the thought of being able to do things better and tend to do it.


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