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How does compression gear help with recovery?

While everyone who is cool seems to be wearing compression gear, I’ve been looking in to the why’s of it. There is some iffy research out there to be honest with you – some says there is no benefit with wearing tights after a big event to help with recovery, others say yes.

Many people who wear the gear report the benefits even in how the body feels in the morning. Most research says that wearing it when racing (the research is on runners mostly) doesn’t make a difference – but in the recovery phase, there seems to be a few benefits.

I’ve looked in to a few studies, and will let you make your own decision on the gear – but in one of South Africa’s toughest ultra-marathons, the people who wore long compression socks were 12 minutes faster, and recovered enough within 3 days to train again – the normal stand down time is one day per every 10 km’s raced – this race is 56km, so one would be expected to rest for 5-6 days.

The effects that people note after using compression gear is

• Decreased muscle soreness

• Decreased fatigue

• Possible increased lymph drainage

• Possible increased blood flow.

While other studies have shown that wearing stockings after exercise is no different to having an ice bath – if you can’t get to an ice bath, then why not wear your compression gear?

Don’t go out and buy a pair of normal tights that is too small and hope they will work (you will look like a sausage)– you need to make sure that the compression is graded – tighter away from the heart (in tights in the ankles and at the wrists in tops) and looser at the top.

Rod and Kirstene from Sweatapparel have some gear on their site -if this tickles your fancy.

I found wearing the gear at night was good, but sometimes wearing it to bed was uncomfortable, due to the body swelling slightly while sleeping – this is definitely something to work out for yourself.

Have you had good or bad experiences with compression gear? What do you think?

Have you tried any compression gear? What did you notice?

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