Benefits Of Compression Gear
Anyone who has ever been at the starting line of a race, the briefing at a parkrun, or even a club training session will know one thing: there is a lot of running gear out there. From singlets to technical shirts, shorts to tights, shoes to - are those. . . are those sandals? Anyway, there is a lot of gear out there, and knowing what to wear and when to wear it is important. Yet, there is more to clothing beyond just the aesthetic.
Enter compression gear, where technology meets clothing. Compression is designed to promote blood flow, maintain oxygenation of muscle tissue and keep you warm, while at the same time operating as a comfortable piece of clothing. In layman’s terms, this means that compression gear can speed up recovery after your runs, while simultaneously allowing for increased blood-flow and comfortable movements during any activity. Compression gear, which is skin-tight, is often worn alongside other pieces of gear, and can be used before, during and after your runs. At The Run Hub, we have a fine selection of compression gear for you to choose from, but would like to also take the opportunity to go through a couple of its benefits so that you can decide whether compression gear is right for you.
When To Use It
There is a plethora of pieces of compression gear, many corresponding to specific muscle groups and parts of the body. Knowing what to use and when to use it is important. The “when” is the easiest to answer. As the next few sections will show, compression gear, by applying greater pressure to your muscles, eases and improves blood flow throughout the body. This means that deoxygenated blood will be brought back to the heart faster in return for more nutrient-enriched blood, rather than sitting and pooling in your lower legs after harder sessions. So while the gear is best used both during and after your runs, it can also be used throughout the day.
However, not every piece that can be worn all day should be worn all day. Pieces of compression gear like – to name one example - calf sleeves work very well for ensuring a constant flow of blood between the heart and the legs, but this comes at a post-run cost: you should not wear them at night. Due to their being cut off at the ankle, wearing calf sleeves for long durations of time increases the risk of suppressing blood flow to and from your feet. Thankfully, there are many other options for you to wear instead, such as full-length compression socks or recovery tights.
Of course, all of our compression gear will work for you both during and immediately after running. Calf sleeves and knee braces are excellent for avoiding injury as they ensure these vital parts of your leg (which, I needn’t tell you, can take quite the beating) recover faster so they can work harder. You can see some of our sleeves here:
Running And Recovery
The constant pressure to the skin also adds a greater level of stabilisation in the muscles, thus decreasing the risk of vibration-induced injury and suppressing feelings of discomfort. This is especially useful around vulnerable joints like the knee. The more noticeable effects, however, will be felt in the muscles. As you run, your muscles will be asking for more and more oxygen, which is delivered via red blood cells. The compression gear, as stated above, increases the flow of blood throughout the body, encouraging a constant flow from your heart to your feet and back again, delivering vital oxygen when you need it most.
Compression gear also discourages “blood pooling,” which is the pooling of blood at the extremities of your body (your calves and feet) after a hard run or race, as it is no longer being pumped around the body in quite the same way. This will inevitably encourage more of a lactic build up in the legs. Compression gear will encourage further movement of blood to muscle tissue, even after you have finished running. By easing the blood flow gradually as your body cools down, it will prevent blood pooling and lactic build up, thus allowing your body to recover faster and better.
Check out these compression socks below. The gradation at the ankle encourages any blood pooling in your feet back up through your calves and to your heart, and get that nutrient-enriched blood you so rightly deserve:
Despite compression clothing’s tight fabrics, it does not suffocate the skin or deprive it of oxygen. In fact, it does quite the opposite: with a proven blend of materials, compression gear is designed to prevent chafing, blisters and delayed onset muscle soreness. Further to this, the gear also incorporates heat and moisture management, keeping you both warm and dry for longer: a necessity for both those dreaded winter runs and gruelling summer sessions!
At The Run Hub, we want to deliver to you the gear that will keep you and your muscles happy. In times gone by, we would encourage you to come into the store, where we can take your measurement and point you in the direction of compression gear that’s right for you. While we hope to offer a similar service soon again, it may be a bit before we can personally take your measurement. So, if you are looking to order from our online store, there are some quick and easy ways for you to know what sizes are right for you. The following will all requires a measuring tape of some kind, as the measurements will be in both inches and centimetres:
- Calf Sleeves / Knee-Length Socks: Measure your calf circumference at the widest point.
- Quad Sleeve: Measure your mid-thigh circumference.
- Forearm Sleeve: Measure your forearm circumference at the widest point.
- Shorts: Measure you mid-thigh circumference.
- Socks: Your shoe size.
You can see our full range of compression gear here: