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Is there really a benefit to compression sleeves?

Posted on October 13 2015

You can see them everywhere there are runners. For many, it’s difficult to decide whether they’re just a fancy accessory, or a weapon that improves our performance whenever we hit the pavement, dirt, or treadmill. You can’t deny that compression calf sleeves look sharp, but is there really any other benefit to them other than appearance? The answer is yes, there are many benefits and advantages. There are three categories to these benefits. They are health, performance, and looks. Each one may be enough to convince someone of the benefits of compression calf sleeves, but all three combined is almost certain to do so.

Health

The first advantage of compression calf sleeves for runners is they do in fact compress. In studies that have been conducted, the evidence has overwhelmingly pointed to compression calf sleeves reducing swelling. This is especially true with people that spend much of their day standing. Runners fit that bill. If swelling is an issue for you, compression sleeves can help take the inflammation down.

            Another benefit of compression, is that it can help to alleviate minor pains such as shin splints, tendonitis, and cramps while running. However, wearing compression calf sleeves will not make the problem go away. You must use other measures to actually cure yourself of injury. While wearing compression calf sleeves is not a way to mend the issues that cause pain, they can help you get through a workout or race without having to deal with a lot of discomfort.

Performance

The physical benefits of compression calf sleeves are not limited to those who have injuries or other special conditions. Compression calf sleeves actually help to boost performance as well as prevent muscles from tiring as quickly. There are two reasons for this. The first is because of improved blood flow through the muscles, which in turn means higher oxygen levels. The second is because compression prevents some of the vibration in the muscles. Over time while running, the vibrations in the muscles accumulate and cause the muscles to tire. However, when compressed, the muscles can’t vibrate as much, and the muscles don’t tire.

            The benefits of the compression don’t end with just the running. The increase in blood flow is also highly beneficial for recovery. Your muscles will not only receive oxygen, but key nutrients as well that will help prevent soreness and lead to faster recovery. Recovery is a key to success in running because it prevents injuries accumulated over time. If you can recover faster, you can run harder and more often.

            It’s also important for performance to be comfortable when running. That’s why very few people who run outdoors like to wear long pants or tights when running. They are simply not as comfortable as shorts. Compression calf sleeves allow you to wear your shorts further into the fall, as well as earlier in the spring because of the warmth they provide. On the other side of the coin, many compression sleeves are moisture wicking, which means in the summer, they will also help to keep you cool. Comfort can be a major factor in performance, and temperature is an important player in whether or not you are comfortable when you run.

            Another advantage is compression sleeves will protect your legs when running on trails and rough terrain. If you don’t think this is a big benefit, then you have never had poison ivy on your lower legs. You will also be pleased not to have all the minor bumps and scrapes from rocks and sticks.

            Another benefit of protection is your legs will not get as dirty. This is just a nice bonus on top of everything else. It will save you a little bit of time in the shower after your workout, and that will help any runner who has a busy lifestyle.

Looks

            A final benefit of compression calf sleeves is they simply look good. Who doesn’t like to look their best when they’re running? There are tons of designs and colors to choose from, and they will certainly catch peoples’ attention. There’s also the old adage of ‘look good, play good.’ Wearing compression calf sleeves will certainly make you look good, and as a result you will certainly perform well.

            There are many benefits to compression calf sleeves for runners. They can help you prevent and push through injury. They can boost your performance when you hit the pavement, and as a bonus, they simply look sharp. They help to make you feel good, work good, and look good. What more could you want from running apparel?

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