If you are reading this, I can assume that you have at least been introduced to compression wear. I can also assume that you have some further questions about the benefits and uses of compression clothing.
While there is a wide variety of compression wear ranging from socks, pants, sleeves, shirts, etc., I will just be focusing on compression pants for the purposes of simplification.
Some popular questions surrounding this new trend typically include-
What is the difference between compression leggings and other leggings/yoga pants?
Is there a correlation between compression leggings and weight loss?
Is it harmful to use compression wear for an extended time?
Is there any substantial evidence supporting the benefits of compression wear?
Luckily for you, I will answer these questions for you.
Compression Leggings and Yoga Pants Compared
While your everyday leggings, tights, or yoga pants are typically made from thinner materials such as cotton, compression leggings are usually made from Lycra and polyester. The reasoning behind the differences in material relates back to the uses of these products.
Compression leggings were first used to prevent conditions such as varicose veins from starting or progressing. They were first common in the medical field to improve recovery times and circulation.
Compression later became popular among athletes because of the promise of improved circulation, clearing the blood of metabolic bypasses such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid, repelling moisture from the body, and aiding in proprioception.
Because yoga pants and normal leggings are made from softer, more giving material, they do not offer the pressure of compression leggings. They are typically used for fashion statements or lighter exercises allowing for free movement of muscles and joints.
Compression and Weight Loss
Is there a correlation between compression garments and weight loss?
While there are conflicting studies surrounding this topic, many people, including professional athletes, swear by the effects of them.
Probably the most common benefit of using compression for weight loss is the illusion it gives. Because of the pressure the material puts on the body, it shapes the body causing it to appear thinner and more contoured. The pressure may also cause tightening of the skin and gives a micro-massage that breaks up and reduces the appearance of cellulite through constant, gentle pressure.
Aside from illusion, compression garments cause the body to sweat which can result in reducing water weight. Along with this, the material pulls the moisture off of the body allowing it to evaporate more effectively.
While there is no conclusive research to suggest that wearing compression legging will definitely lead to weight loss, the loss of water weight and the firm appearance they give to the body is a positive for many people.
Extended Wear and Health Issues
Myth-Compression garments are dangerous when used extensively.
There is no evidence that suggests that extended wear of compression garments may inflict any danger or health issues.
Contrary to this belief, compression socks or leggings can be beneficial while traveling. The science behind this is when a person travels they are forced to be in more constricting positions, which can lead to lowered circulation, resulting in blood clots.
Using compression garments during travel can aide in improved blood circulation, which can help prevent blood clots in the lower extremities.
Compression Garments and Athletes
Since weight loss and exercise go hand and hand, I will discuss the thoughts behind professional athletes using compression garments.
With the idea of compression helping with circulation, muscle support, and the supporting of performance and more precise movements, it is a no-brainer that athletes flock to these products.
Circulation– the pressure that is distributed by the compression garment may cause blood to pump out of the legs faster. This allows increased circulation, which helps clean out the blood of metabolic byproducts more effectively.
Jiggle– When you exercise, the muscles vibrate or ‘jiggle’. Using the compression holds the muscles in place and reduces their movement, also resulting in reduced metabolic byproducts.
Athletes appreciate the claims that these leggings rid the body of metabolic byproducts more efficiently because byproducts, such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid, cause the muscles to feel sore and weak after a workout.
Proprioception– The definition I found states, “the perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body.” An example of this would be “your ability to sense the surface you are standing on without looking at the surface.”
Is There Substantial Evidence That Suggests Real Benefits?
Te-Oranga School of Human Development and Movement Studies performed a study on 44 healthy participants. Within the study, the participants were asked to perform active joint repositioning tasks with their dominant and non-dominant legs. These studies included data with and without compression garments below the knees.
The study concluded that compression garments may improve proprioception of the knees, regardless of leg dominance.
This is beneficial for athletes because they can better sense their bodies in space and may see an improvement in performance.
Aside from compression leggings being worn for comfort and fashion, the surrounding health benefits have caused a spike in their popularity.
Leave us a comment below, and let us hear your opinion on compression leggings!
Do you wear compression garments, or will you start after reading this?