Fitness is something that’s come to be on everyone’s agenda these days, with more and more people becoming open to the idea of taking time out of their day to devote to a healthier lifestyle. One thing that has also begun to catch on, perhaps as an offshoot of this increased interest in fitness, is the development of new specialized types of fitness attire such as compression garments.
For many fitness enthusiasts the bare minimum in terms of “equipment” has to do with what you wear – runners, for example, don’t really have to invest in buying lots of gear, but they do find it advisable to spend good money on the right kind of shoes. Low cost options, and getting attractively priced shoes without as much (or any) regard for support or striking aid, often leads to ailments like shin splints or even injuries. As such, sometimes spending a reasonably sizeable amount on the right attire and gear makes for a good investment.
Nowadays, one type of workout attire that has become popular is compression gear. Compression clothing is designed to work as the name suggests: the elasticity of the material used to make it allows for it to stretch, but retain a very tight-fitting form that compresses the muscles of the body being covered. Compression gear has become popular with a variety of fitness enthusiasts, mainly runners and those working out in the gym, for a variety of reasons. Research is mixed on whether or not compression gear actually results in drastically improved athletic performance, but there appears to be enough benefits that it has seen greater use.
Compression sleeves, in particular, have seen widespread use in recent years. Although the sleeves have been prescribed by physicians for years because of their recognizable benefit, athletes have come to really embrace their usefulness more recently for a variety of reasons. Many long-distance runners, in particular, have really come to rely on them and incorporate them as an indispensable part of their workout gear. Among the main reasons they’re so positively-received is the way compression sleeves protect limbs from injuries to a certain degree, as well as provide a good deal of support particularly in the joint areas.
You may be considering looking into compression garments for your own use, and why not? They might be just what you need. Here are a few key benefits of compression sleeves.
Compression sleeves provide fairly good protection from various outdoor conditions. They’re not exactly impermeable, of course, but they often do enough to shield your skin from abrasions and scratches that would otherwise be all too easily sustained. This becomes very important – and easy to appreciate – when jogging through rugged terrain, as twigs, kicked-up gravel and various other rough elements found on such trails can scratch the skin. Keeping the skin shielded from things like poison ivy and other such problematic plants is another plus.
On a related note, having compression sleeves on can help keep your limbs clean as you go. Dust and dirt can accumulate on one’s limbs as they run, and this can create a fairly unpleasant sensation after a while. Enough dirt can even irritate the skin, resulting in problematic rashes and other such reactions. A compression sleeves would provide an extra layer of protection from these – while they get dirty, at least you don’t. It helps that while fairly strong, the material is breathable and fairly light on your body, meaning it won’t feel heavy just because it’s got the dirt on it. It’s a fairly good extra layer to have, all told. (Consider buying a color other than white, for obvious reasons.)
Your circulatory system is what immediately benefits from compression. The tightness lines up the muscles and aids in keeping the blood flow consistent. The improved blood flow helps oxygen-rich blood circulate better, relieving that heavy and achy feeling that tired legs sometimes get. This is why compression socks and the like have been prescribed for bedridden patients or those with poor mobility – the circulatory assistance offered by graduated compression can be quite helpful. What’s more, graduated circulation can help naturally combat varicose veins. These tend to result from poor blood flow, so when circulation is improved, additional varicose veins can be avoided.
Compression garments helps stabilize the muscles being put under pressure, as well as reducing the amount of mobility of the muscle – keeping it from being jarred and jolted as much as it otherwise would be. This along with the improved circulation can combine to keep the fatigue away for a while.
Compression sleeves contribute to keeping swelling down. As any runner knows, compression is always one of the immediate recommended treatments for inflammation. Aside from improving blood circulation, compression brings swelling down because it reduces muscle movement, which also has the benefit of reducing muscle soreness. Research also shows that compression increases tissue oxygen saturation, which contributes to faster recovery and better performance.
Lymphedema can result in a difficulty draining the body’s excess water and protein. A blocked lymphatic system leads to swelling and even slowed tissue healing. The pressure generated by compression sleeves helps a great deal in keeping the lymph moving.
Compression garments tend to be made of breathable fabric, so they don’t feel too cumbersome. However, they do a great job of helping you maintain an ideal body temperature. The compression sleeves can work to wick away extra sweat moisture while helping you keep cool on hot days. Additionally, pairing the sleeves with shorts or pants can help keep you warm on cold days without making you feel over-layered.
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