Updated: Jun 14, 2019
Have you ever noticed, when you hurt yourself, one of the first things you do is hold the injured area, hold it tight and apply pressure. Naturally, we know this will help but we may not know why.
When we apply pressure, you are stabilising the muscle, helping stopping it from going into shock and reducing the trauma caused to the area. Also without going into it in too much jargon, when compression is applied blood flow is increased. This is really important for injury recovery and will contribute to how long it takes for an injury to heal.
What about compression during exercise?
Their is so many options clothes wise for compression gear whilst training or competing. Do you know why compression is good at this point though? During exercise we need a lot of oxygen being carried to the muscles through blood flow and we need the deoxygenated and other waste products being taken away quickly for optimal performance. We also suffer a lot of trauma to muscles from pounding the pavement to lifting weights currently beyond easy capabilities for the muscle groups. This causes fatigue to our bodies especially if blood flow is not great. Compression garments such as socks or compression tights, work in a way that they provide the right amount of pressure on the body in the right areas to help blood flow more efficiently through the body during your workout. They also help with quicker recovery because of the increased blood flow so you can get back to working that muscle group again and train harder next time.
Compression during massage?
If you have ever had a deep tissue or sports massage, you will have experienced some form of compression during massage. An elbow to the bum cheek, knees into the hamstrings, thumbs into the shoulder are all forms of a technique called trigger points. The idea is to apply as high amount of compression to an injured area which in turn creates increased blood flow and introduces fresh blood cells to the area promoting healing.
The main point I'm trying to make is compression is good, during exercise, after exercise and during recovery. You can get further advice from your doctor or practitioner on whether it is good for you given any conditions you might be worried about but for most people it is a good thing. So next time you see a runner with the shortest shorts and a pair of pop socks, you know whats going on :)
Recommendation for compression sock for runners on Amazon-