CEP Sports explain why compression gear could have a positive impact on your running
Wearing knee-high compression socks for running was at one time something only elite athletes – most memorably Paula Radcliffe – did. Now runners of all levels are using compression gear at events from the London Marathon to the local parkrun. Yes, it looks pro, but compression, which was originally used in medicine to treat circulatory issues such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), has been scientifically proven not only to improve performance in sport but also to speed up recovery.
With the help of the expert team at leading compression brand CEP, whose parent company medi has over 60 years of research and development in compression, we take a closer a look at how compression gear actually works and why it can make you a faster, healthier runner.
Compressing the muscle and venuos system leads to an improved supply of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles to help sustain more power and greater endurance. CEP compression garments can improve the flow of venous (oxygenated) blood by up to 40 per cent.
Compression garments hold the muscle in place, decreasing the amount it oscillates or vibrates causing more inefficient energy use. A 2004 study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found improvements in maximal aerobic efforts as well as in explosive muscular power while wearing compression gear – allowing you to run faster for longer.
The activation of skin receptors when wearing compression gear leads to improved muscle tension and a heightened sense of position to promote the self-stabilisation of joints, also referred to as proprioception. Increased stability and control of joints and muscles makes them more efficient, reducing the risk of injury.
If the correct compression profile is worn during, pre-and post-activity (recovery) the increased flow of oxygenated blood in the muscle speeds up the removal of metabolic waste products. Lactic acid is produced during high-intensity exercise, which produces that burning feeling and forces you to slow down. The 2004 study backed up an earlier one that showed a 14 per cent decrease in blood lactate concentrations 15 minutes after high intensity exercise when compression clothing was worn during and after exercise. That means pacier running with less muscle damage and reduced muscle soreness later.
A leading brand such as CEP offers a range of compression products: as well as the classic knee-high socks there are short socks, no-show socks, leg and arm sleeves, tights, shorts and tops are all designed to fit you like a second skin with precise compression profiles that guarantee a targeted effect. To work effectively, each product should have the correct profile of graduated compression with the correct pressure value when used for recovery or for active use: all lengths of CEP socks feature the correct profile, with compression starting in the midsole. They also have a precise anatomical fit to protect your feet from blisters while keeping them from swelling and interfering with the fit of your running shoes or the biomechanics of your stride.
Compression can be an essential part of the toolbox for runners of all levels. To get the maximum benefit, just ensure you are measured correctly and choose the right product. So if it’s something you haven’t tried before, why not get started with a pair of compression socks and watch your PBs tumble in 2020?
Check out the full CEP range here.