Nowadays, more and more people are becoming health conscious and exercising regularly. It is a well-known fact that regular exercise is beneficial to health but apart from proper technique, the fitness garments used during the training also play a very important role. Compression garments are one of such fitness garments that have been used widely in the fitness and sports industry in recent times to help with recovery and prevent muscle injury during training.
What are compression garments?
Compression garments are any piece of clothing, available in various forms such as socks, under-wears, bodysuits, etc, that can fit tightly around the skin. They were originally prescribed for clinical patients by doctors to prevent deep vein thrombosis and to reduce leg swelling during long periods of travel. But nowadays they are gaining popularity even among healthy fitness enthusiasts in order to enhance workout performance and to reduce workout-related injuries.
How do compression garments enhance workout efficiency?
It is suggested that compression garments achieve this by various mechanisms such as by providing tissue compression and mechanical support during the workout. It is believed that the compression provided by compression garments causes dilatation of the arteries which leads to increased blood flow to the muscles and thus better oxygenation and better nutrient transportation to the muscles so that they can regenerate faster.
Compression garments also provide warmth to the muscle in cold weather workouts such as ice skiing thus improving the muscle’s thermal state during the outdoor workout. A better thermal state means better muscle performance. Some research also claims that compression garments decreased lactic acid buildup and heart rate in athletes.
What does recent research suggest?
In a recent study done at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan the research team headed by assistant professor János Négyesi and professor Ryoichi Nagatomi from the graduate school of biomedical engineering demonstrated another advantage of wearing compression garments. The study has shown that compression garments not only enhance recovery and reduce the chance of injury but also decrease the loss of strength caused by fatigue after heavy training sessions.
In this study, the researchers used a specialized device known as a computerized dynamometer to cause fatigue during the training of the healthy participants. The exact same device was also used to determine the changes in the knee joint position sense and maximum strength just after, 24 hours, and 1 week after the training was completed. The research found out that a below-knee compression garment hugely reduced fatigue and its effect on maximum strength just after the exercise and after 24 hours have passed. It means that fitness lovers could begin a new strength training session earlier if they have worn a below-knee compression garment in their prior training. However, compression garments failed to provide any protection against the error in the joint position sense. In the near future, the researchers aim to evaluate if long-term workout sessions lasting for weeks with high intensities would give different outcomes.
In the university release, Dr.Négyesi said, “our previous studies only studied the effects of compression clothing on joint position sense but the present study found such garments also have the potential to reduce strength loss after a strenuous workout, which may help to better understand how a compression garment applied during exercise helps to minimize the risk of muscle injury during sports activity.”
Compression garments can be a great choice if you want to prevent injury during heavy workouts, enhance exercise performance, and shorten recovery time after a long tiring workout session. So it would be a wise decision to incorporate them during your next exercise.