Exercising on a regular basis places your body under significant stress. Sweat and exertion affects performance, but the clothes you wear can help you exercise in greater comfort — and for longer periods. Compression clothing’s tight fit and artificial materials remove many of the inherent limitations found with conventional cotton undergarments, allowing you to perform at your potential.
Cotton shirts and shorts can become soaked with sweat, and keep your body from cooling properly. Cotton also takes a long time to dry — especially when trapped under padding and other clothing — and this adds weight to your body. Depending on how much you sweat, this could mean you’re dealing with anywhere from a few ounces to a few pounds more in weight during exercise. By wicking away sweat, tight-fitting compression gear helps your body better regulate heat and avoid the extra weight. Compression gear uses Spandex, lycra and nylon in various combinations to pull moisture away from the body.
Your muscles are subject to constant movement and vibration during physical activity. Without proper support, these muscle groups can quickly become fatigued. Compression shirts and shorts keep muscles firmly in place through their tight fit. The gear also aids in speedier removal of lactic acid from the blood through improved circulation, aiding in quicker muscle recovery and reduced soreness after an event. Compression clothing also stabilizes muscle groups in injured areas, reducing the likelihood of a recurrence.
Cotton or other loose-fitting clothing rubs against an your body during physical exertion, which can cause discomfort from friction. This is exacerbated when fabric is moist and can result in distracting rashes and rough spots. Compression clothing fits so tightly to the body that it forms an unmoving, protective barrier from padding and outer garments. If you aren’t distracted by physical discomfort, you can more clearly focus on performance.
Hot and Cold
Compression clothing is typically available in styles for hot weather or cold weather. Both wick moisture effectively. Hot weather gear is designed to allow as much heat as possible to escape. Cold weather gear — often worn as the outer layer by runners and cyclists — is a little more insulating, preventing cramps and tightness. Select the right gear to stay cool or conserve warmth.
References and ResourcesHealthy Life: Compression Clothing: What Is It and What Are It's Benefits?
World Rugby Shop: Compression Clothing Buyer's Guide
Skiing Business: Compression Clothes: Hoax or Handy?
Women's Adventure Magazine: Under Pressure: Compression Wear