A Beginner's Guide to Compression Clothing

Recode · March 10, 2022



Compression clothing is a type of garment worn tightly to help athletes enhance performance and recovery. Usually worn as tights, sleeves, and shirts, compression garments are great to wear while you’re working out or if you want to keep your muscles warm after a workout or on a cold day. They offer various benefits such as improved circulation, pain relief, quicker recovery time, and better blood flow. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the types of compression clothing available, how it works, how to select the right compression clothing for your needs, and much more!

What are compression clothes?

Compression clothing, such as leggings and shirts, is specifically designed to promote circulation. There are a variety of health benefits associated with wearing compression clothes, from improved circulation and mobility during exercise and recovery, to faster post-exercise muscle recovery.

Benefits of Wearing Compression Clothes

Once upon a time, compression clothing was only worn by elite athletes. However, now that these athletic shirts and leggings are more widely available, more and more people are discovering their numerous benefits. In fact, if you wear compression leggings under your work outfit or compression tights under your weekend wear, you could notice a difference in your legs’ definition and a reduction in soreness after a long day.

Health Benefits

As we age, our circulation slows down and our muscles become less flexible. Some doctors even say that wearing compression clothing can assist in fighting off certain illnesses such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and lymphoedema. Improving your circulation also leads to a higher level of oxygenation which improves recovery time after a workout or physical activity.


Which Kind of Compression Clothes Should I Buy?

There are 3 kinds of compression ranging from low, medium, and high. Garments with a low compression profile usually act a base layer with little to no performance or recovery benefits whereas medium and high compression profiles or anywhere between provide performance and recovery benefits depending on the fabric used. The science behind compression is that the tighter the garments wrap around key muscle areas, will increase blood flow and reduce muscle vibration leading to fewer injuries. Another part of the theory that has been found by researchers is by keeping certain muscles tightly squeezed, will cause a reduction in muscle vibration leading to reduced soreness and quicker recovery turnaround time.


Injury Prevention

Wearing compression clothing and gear has been shown to reduce muscle fatigue and swelling, as well as reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after strenuous exercise. If you're looking for a way to continue exercising, even when your body is feeling beat up from a hard workout or sports game, compression clothing can be beneficial. In addition, by reducing overall levels of inflammation in your muscles and joints, you may also find that injuries like pulled hamstrings heal faster than normal; an excellent reason to wear these pieces during recovery time. Wearing compression gear while exercising can help give your body an edge when it comes to endurance activities like long-distance running or biking.

The science behind the fabric

All compression garments that provide performance benefits are made from spandex commonly known as Lycra. These unique fabrics offer different forms of benefits ranging from comfort to performance. The fabric used to make the garment commonly goes from one end of the spectrum which is recovery to the other end which is performance. Performance-based fabrics are usually used during high-intensity workouts whereas comfort-based fabrics are usually used for post-workout recovery sessions. The high performance and cost-effectiveness of smart fabrics and interactive textiles have enabled them to replace traditional materials making them become more popular ranging from athletes to everyday people. 

When Do I Wear My Compression Gear?

The biggest misconception about compression gear is that it needs to be worn 24/7. You only need compression clothing when your body will benefit from it. Most athletes recommend wearing compression clothing during or right after a workout, and then again throughout your day (when you're sitting at a desk or driving in a car). This allows you to enjoy the benefits of improved circulation.

There are lots of situations where compression gear can benefit your health and quality of life. We’ll start with two of our favourites. First, they can aid in recovery post-workout or just after a long day at work. The more you wear them, your body will adapt to their presence and even if you’re not physically active, they will increase blood flow to improve oxygen delivery throughout your muscles and promote faster muscle recovery, so you feel better sooner after your next workout. Second, compression gear is perfect for those who are sitting for long periods (like during a commute). They improve blood flow during inactivity, so less oxygen and nutrients are lost from your muscles while you’re sitting on that bus or train or plane!

Warnings and Safety Tips

Make sure that any compression apparel is comfortable, fits well, and provides good circulation. Wash your compression clothes in a delicate cycle and use a cold-water wash; these clothes shouldn’t be dried on high heat or hung to dry

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