Athletes and fitness enthusiasts use compression clothing because it can prevent injury, improve performance and enhance recovery time. It may also have some psychological benefits for athletes. Compression clothing is tight-fitting athletic clothing that is designed to hug the body and provide support to the muscles.
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Compression clothing is capable of lessening the force of impact on joints, which can prevent injury, according to Drs. Andy Harrison and Kevin Thompson, physiologists at the English Institute of Sport. Compression clothing features strong materials and a tight fit around joints to support them. Sports clothing companies such as Skins manufacture compression gear designed to reduce the force of impact on the knees.
Compression clothing reduces the rate of muscle oscillation. Muscle vibrations occur constantly while your muscle is being flexed. These vibrations use up energy and so can weaken your muscle's ability to sustain lengthy physical activity. Compression clothing lessens the rate of oscillation by gently squeezing the muscles. This makes the muscles more efficient and lengthens their ability to work longer.
Marathon runners such as Lornal Kiplagat and Gete Wami use compression socks to increase blood flow to the heart and to stabilise the lower leg muscles. Compression socks fit tightly around the feet and then gradually become less tight around the calf. This prevents blood from pooling and increases its flow to the heart. This leads to an increase in oxygen in the muscles and results in improving the athlete's endurance, according to "Running Times."
Lactic Acid Reduced
Muscles produce lactic acid as they flex. Lactic acid causes cramping and stiffening of the muscles when it builds up. Compression clothes apply graduated pressure to the muscles, which improves blood circulation, and eliminates lactic acid build-up. By preventing lactic acid build-up, athletes are able to work out longer without cramping or stiffening and are able to recover faster.
Athletes' enhanced performance when wearing compression clothing may in part be attributed to their belief that it will enhance their performance, according to Drs. Harrison and Thompson. In addition to the actual physical benefits of compression clothing, its perceived benefit may help athletes overcome other psychological barriers that are preventing them from achieving their athletic goals.
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