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Should you workout in compression wear?

Is compression wear better for when you're working out or when you're recovering? Lounge finds out

Compression wear is used both to enhance performance and also to recover better.
Compression wear is used both to enhance performance and also to recover better. (Istockphoto)

When was the last time you saw a football match? Did you notice what they were wearing? What about runners during a track and field event? One thing in common between all of them is the fact that they always have compression gear. Be it the shorts, the compression sleeve or sometimes even a compression T-shirt.

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Why do people wear compression wear after all? Experts believe that compression clothing increases blood flow and oxygen delivery to the tissues making exercise more efficient and less tiring. Because it is tight, compression clothing also results in an increased awareness of the body, which makes you improve your posture and the way you move while working out or running or playing a sport.

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Compression gear can also help you recover from an exercise. When you wear compression clothing after your workout or your run, it can provide significant relief from the muscles that had been activated during the workout from swelling up. The resulting fatigue is also limited, and it helps your muscle tissues to recover quickly. However, experts have cautioned that it's hard to draw any definite conclusion about the effectiveness of compression gear. Studies on their efficacy stress on variables like the type of exercise, the type of compression gear worn, and performance indicators measured.

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Let's take a look at some of the popular compression gears available for workout, especially for women.

Adidas formotion leggings.
Adidas formotion leggings. (Courtesy Adidas)

Compression lowers

Compression for your quads, glutes and hips are helpful for any runner and athlete. But it’s even better for those who play sports that require mobility like rugby, football or even tennis. Leggings or shorts that have compression technology work like a second skin and squeezes the blood back to the heart, which slows down fatigue. Maybe that is why NFL linebacker Bryan Scott has been known to wear his "recovery skins" even while resting during training camp.

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The formotion offerings from Adidas have been made with primegreen (a collection of recycled material which uses a minimum of 40% recycled material) and is based on feedback from the global athletic community and data from motion research.

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"The great thing about the tights is compression used only in specific zones. For example, it has different levels of compression in the waist and in the hips. This also means that no matter what your body shape is or what exercise you do, the leggings can actually sculpt itself around you," said Josephine Aberg, VP of design for Adidas.

For me, it worked because the high waist compression didn't just look nice, but provided the sort of support I needed to do workouts during bloated period days. The rest of the leggings are made from a high-stretch knitted material. This lets you move easily, but can be a little too warm to wearing in humid and hot weather.

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Adidas formotion leggings. Available for 5,999 at shop.adidas.co.in

Under Armour Project Rock Mid Crossback.
Under Armour Project Rock Mid Crossback. (Courtesy Under Armour)

Compression uppers

A compression top can help reduce swelling and inflammation while not restricting movement. A compression bra functions as a top. However, it also holds your breasts in place so you don't feel uncomfortable while running or performing cardio activities such as jumping, skipping or burpees.

The one I tried for this story was Under Armour Project Rock Mid Crossback. It is designed for medium support activities like, cycling, weightlifting or boxing. The crossover straps are a great help as they provide better support than a regular tshirt or a broad back strap. The upper uses the company’s trademark UA HeatGear fabric, which is designed to regulate body temperature. This makes it a perfect choice for the humid months (or even the dry summer months) where you tend to sweat more and cannot cool down fast enough.

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Also Read: Should you workout in hot and humid weather?

This is especially important since any compression wear will stick to your body. One point you should remember is to choose the correct size while buying a compression sports bra. If your bust size is large however, it might not be a very comfortable and you can instead look for a regular, but well-fitted sports bra and layer it with a compression top.

Under Armour Project Rock Crossback sports bra. Available for 3,999 at underarmourindia.net.in

Aptonia Recovery Compression Socks.
Aptonia Recovery Compression Socks. (Courtesy Decathlon)

Compression for your calves

Swollen ankles are a common phenomenon, as are fatigued calves, especially after you’ve performed exercises such as skipping. As a matter of fact calves get tensed even during long flights, or while continuously sitting at a desk for long hours. You can notice a numbness in your legs if you have been sitting in one position for a very long time. This happens because blood circulation gets restricted in our legs.

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Also Read: Why you should exercise first thing every morning

These compression socks from Decathlon can help you in all these scenarios by encouraging better blood flow. When there is increased blood flow, there is also an increase in the amount of oxygen that goes to the muscles, thereby preventing tissue damage. Worn after any strenuous activity, it can help muscles recover quickly by sending more blood to the worn out muscles. Just remember to get a size suitable for you.

Aptonia Recovery Compression Socks. Available for 899 at decathlon.in

  • LAST UPDATED
    26.07.2021 | 12:47 PM IST
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