If you have watched professional sports in recent years, you may have noticed that many elite athletes now wear elastic garments on their arms and legs. These are compression tubes, and athletes wear them to improve blood flow, prevent injuries and boost performance. What you may not know is that many athletes also wear compression socks. This article will look at how compression socks do their magic and how wearing them while you work out could help you to reach your fitness goals.
What Are Compression Socks and What Do They Do?
Athletes first began wearing compression apparel in the 1980s. Blood flow is crucial during intense exercise when muscles need all the nutrients and oxygen they can get. But even healthy hearts struggle to pump blood to the extremities when we push our bodies to their limits. This is where compression apparel comes in.
Compression socks apply gentle mechanical pressure to the feet and lower legs, which support and stabilize tissue and makes it easier for the heart to do its job. Graduated compression socks apply a little more pressure around the ankle and then become slightly looser further up the leg, which improves the flow of blood rich in oxygen and helps veins return deoxygenated blood to the heart.
TRUEENERGY® compression socks take things even further. Not only do they have an easy on, easy off multi-directional compression stretch, but they also feature arch band compression to reduce the movement of your socks, which helps prevent blisters. Additionally, they have InfraRed ceramic crystals infused into the yarn and moisture wicking technology. These are truly the best compression socks in the marketplace.
How Compression Socks Can Help in Fitness
Fitness compression socks work because they reduce inflammation. When they are worn during strenuous activities like exercise, they slightly increase the temperature of the muscles.
This effect avoids swelling and inflammation by preventing muscle tearing and other micro-traumas. It also makes intense physical exercise much less painful. Wearing compression apparel during a football or basketball game would have raised eyebrows just a few years ago, but it is now considered quite normal.
You are probably wondering how much of a difference a little compression can make. Basketball superstar Allen Iverson developed bursitis in his left elbow late in 2000. The condition made shooting a basketball very painful, and it was feared that Iverson would require surgery and miss the rest of the NBA season.
The Philadelphia 76ers did not want that to happen, as Iverson was their marquee player, so they asked their trainers to find a solution. That solution involved putting a tube bandage around Iverson’s injured arm, which reduced the pain and prevented further injury. Iverson went on to score 51 points, and the compression tube became a part of NBA lore.
How OTC Compression Socks Can Improve Cardiovascular Performance
Over the calf compression socks are popular among runners because they stabilize the foot and lower leg muscles during high-stress repetitive movements. This increases the range of motion, improves balance and reduces fatigue, which allows runners to run further and avoid injuries.
An Australian study on functional recovery in 2015 showed how compression socks aid muscle fatigue and recovery after exercise. The research also established a link between compression socks and improved cardiovascular performance.
Endurance exercises like running are hard on the body because they can cause venous pooling in the feet and lower legs. When this pooling occurs, Interleukin 6 (IL-6), creatinine kinase (CK) and lactate level (markers of muscle damage) build-up in muscles causing delayed onset muscle soreness. Marathon running has been shown to increase IL-6 levels by up to 100 times higher than normal.
Creatinine kinase levels have been shown to be closely correlated with both IL-6 levels (an indicator of inflammation) after exercise. This effect causes a significant decrease in venous return and increases the time healthy muscle tissue is exposed to CK and lactate, two waste products that damage muscle cells.
Over the calf compression socks can help prevent CK and lactate buildup by preventing venous buildup, and they may also improve cardiovascular performance by causing dramatic increases in lower-limb oxygenation by the same process of prevention of blood pooling and encouraging circulation.
The study also found that the lower-limb compression footwear also reduced the recovery heart rate immediately following exercise, further aiding their potential use as a recovery strategy
As part of the study, the Australian researchers split a cohort of marathon runners into two groups and gave them either graduated compression socks or placebo socks. They then had the runners perform treadmill tests two weeks before and two weeks after a marathon.
The group wearing placebo socks did not perform nearly as well during their second treadmill tests, but the runners wearing compression socks were able to run for significantly longer before becoming exhausted and had a better functional recovery when it came to muscle soreness.
How Crew Compression Socks Can Help in Strength Training
Lifting weights to the point of failure causes tiny muscle tears. Crew compression socks reduce this kind of trauma in the feet and calves during lower-body exercises like squats, calf raises and leg curls. While over the calf compression socks work really well for runners, weightlifters tend to get the best results from crew compression socks.
These socks also improve circulation, which means that oxygenated blood will flow more efficiently to other parts of the body during strenuous workouts. This could allow you to push past your limits even when performing upper-body exercises like bench presses.
The best compression socks for exercise reduce swelling and pain, which could impede performance on exercises like deadlifts that put a great deal of stress on the legs and feet.
The added stability they provide to the ankle can also give athletes a little more control when performing maximum lifts. If you do wear compression socks for working out, you should choose a pair that wicks moisture away from the body to prevent athlete’s foot.
How Compression Socks Can Speed up Recovery
Faster recovery times are the biggest benefit of wearing compression socks in the gym or on the track. Most of the soreness and pain we experience the day after vigorous exercise is caused by tiny muscle tears and a buildup of lactic acid.
After reviewing more than a thousand scientific papers and studies, researchers in Brazil found that wearing compression socks during intense exercise led to significantly lower blood lactate levels and reduced soreness.
Compression socks provide these benefits because they improve blood flow when we exercise so our muscles get all the oxygen they need. Oxygen is the key to recovery, and compression socks have been found to improve oxygenation both during and after strenuous physical activity.
For the best results and the least post-exercise soreness, you should wear compression socks during your workout and give your muscles a good stretch before you head to the showers.
Compression Socks with Infrared Technology
There you have it, several excellent reasons to make TRUEENERGY® compression socks an essential part of your workout gear. Here’s another one: Our compression socks have tiny infrared crystals infused in the yarn, which generate heat during exercise to enhance the benefits of compression. Our socks are also made of a high-tech fabric blend that wicks moisture away from the body to improve comfort and other functional benefits.
So, if you are looking for the very best compression socks to wear when you run or work out, TRUEENERGY® has you covered. You can buy TRUEENERGY® socks online, or you can use our contact form to ask us a question about our compression socks and other performance socks.