During the last decade, it would have been next to impossible not to see the rise of compression-based garments and apparel. With bold claims about more strength, better athletic performance, and enhanced recovery, it’s no wonder that compression clothing made such an impact on the fitness industry. Despite promises of incredible health and fitness, the science of compression clothing isn’t as clear cut as it might seem. Let’s take a look at what compression clothing is, and the supposed benefits behind it.
What is Compression Clothing?
Not to be confused with the popular leggings or tight and often revealing fitness apparel that’s popular in today’s gyms, compression clothing is more than just tight clothing. Compression clothing is designed to apply a specific amount of pressure against skin and muscle groups via tightness. For example, compression socks often extend from the toes to the middle of the calf and sometimes higher, and they are characteristically tighter than a normal pair of socks but in a comfortable way.
Compression Clothing and Blood Flow
Compression clothing is used to increase circulation and blood flow, which is why it is recommended by medical professionals to people who live a sedentary lifestyle or travel for lengthy periods of time. The increase in healthy blood flow is the foundation of where the benefits of compression clothing originate.
Benefits of Compression Clothing
Decreased Risk of Clotting
For patients with poor venous pressure, or weak blood pressure through the vein system, compression clothing has been shown to promote better circulation. In turn, this may dramatically reduce the risk of blood clots, which form during periods of inactivity, and are made worse from poor circulation.
Repair and Recovery
Exercise and physical activity is arguably more important when you’re older as it has been shown to help maintain an independent lifestyle while increasing longevity. Understandably, the body doesn’t bounce back from physical activity and a workout like it once did. Compression clothing has been suggested to promote recovery after a workout, helping you to heal faster and get rid of muscle soreness.
As we age, blood circulation and assimilation of nutrients tends to decline. Maintaining an active lifestyle is one great way to promote blood flow and nutrient utilization; however, compression clothing might also be able to help. Studies show that older people who wore compression clothing experienced better blood flow, more oxygenation in the muscle, and a higher rate of nutrient uptake.
Should You Wear Compression Clothing?
The benefits of compression clothing for seniors are quite clear, and this makes a strong argument for wearing the clothing on a regular basis, especially if you are currently sedentary. However, it’s important to first check with your doctor, and discuss how compression clothing could be right for you.
Do You Wear Compression Clothing?
If so, what is your favorite article of compression clothing to wear? Do you notice any benefits while wearing it? Let us know in the comments below!
David Sautter is a NASM certified personal trainer and a NASM certified fitness nutrition specialist who has worked in the fitness industry for over 12 years. During his time in the fitness industry, David Sautter has conducted many fitness workshops, trained hundreds of clients, and has written extensively for a variety of companies. He has been a featured fitness writer on many high-profile health and fitness websites. Aside from producing weekly articles, David has been the writer of several e-books and training guides.