Compression Clothing and Exercise Performance

Compression pants might improve endurance performance, but the results of studies are inconclusive— according to a literature review led by Benjamin Watson from the Munson Medical Center’s Healthy Weight Center in Traverse City, Michigan. Extreme endurance events such as marathons and ultra marathons push the nervous and cardiovascular systems to the max. As the races progress, athletes lose cardiovascular control as they fatigue, which results in less blood returning to the heart and elevated heart rates. Compression clothing promotes blood flow back to the heart, prevents cellular swelling and increases proprioception during exercise. Some evidence suggests that compression clothing speeds recovery and decreases muscle soreness after intense training. We need more research before we can recommend compression clothing to endurance athletes. (ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, 20 (2): 12-18, 2016)

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