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Compression Socks for Exercise?

Sep 12, 2015 0 comments

 

You’ve probably been out for your morning run, or your morning coffee run and seen someone exercising with tall socks.  While we weren’t there to know if they were as cool or fun as PODsox, we can tell you that if they were compression socks, the athlete was probably looking for some benefits from them past what you would expect from your average 80’s tube sock.  

 

What kind of benefits you may ask? We can’t speak for other brands, but from personal experience, PODsox make you run faster, look sexier and your sweat will smell like strawberry-tinged unicorn farts.  

 

The current research on compression shows that your average athlete can definitely benefit from a pair of compression socks.  (We’d love for them to be PODsox, but if you want to look less sexy, thats your deal!)  While compression socks don’t actually make you faster, there is some evidence to support that they do “reduce the subjective sensation of fatigue” as one research study put it.  In plain English? You can go further before you feel tired.  Sweet!  

 

The “Union Cycliste Internationale”  (aka, international cycling union) which governs road bike racing has actually banned compression for fear that it will give athletes an unfair advantage.  (Hey, we would be happy to sell PODsox to all of them, so we’re not sure what the big deal is!)

 

In the article by Outside Magazine Online in December of 2014, (see link at the end of this article)  the author cites that post-workout/recover is when you receive the most benefits from compression.  You know how you were so sore that couldn’t walk after your crazy cousin dragged you on that ridiculous hike last summer?  If you would have pulled on a pair of PODsox (or other, waaaay less fun compression socks), you might have been able to staunch some of that soreness before it started.  

 

Basically what happens when we have a super hard workout is that we create micro-tears in our muscles.  Our body brings extra nutrients to the area to help repair this tear.  This creates a traffic jam in our tissues.  Our body brings in nutrients, but cant get the waste products out very quickly.  We end up with extra fluid (swelling)  in between our muscle cells (which is a very tight space already!) and it hurts.  Compression socks can help keep the waste products flowing back out of our muscles as well as creating a physical barrier to prevent the accumulation of swelling. Voila!  Less suffering after your suffer-fest workout is over.

 

Summary:

-Benefits of compression are seen more at higher intensity/longer distance workouts 

-Compression socks during tough workouts can help you feel less tired

-Compression socks after tough workouts can help minimize swelling and soreness

 

And of course, because I think PODsox are about the best thing since chocolate was invented, my recommendation would be to get these benefits from PODsox!  Another bonus for athletic PODsox?  They have silver sewn in as an anti-stink factor.  Pretty cool!

 PODblog Author: Stephanie is a practicing Doctor of Physical Therapy as well as a Board Certified Womens Health Specialist.  She is also an avid adventurer and athlete.  Having conquered multiple 14,000 foot peaks, a marathon, half ironman triathlon as well as having a local mountain biking series championship trophy under her belt, she is no stranger to sore muscles!

1)Effect of compression stockings on physiological responses and running performance in division III collegiate cross-country runners during a maximal treadmill test. (English) By: Rider BC; Coughlin AM; Hew-Butler TD; Goslin BR, Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research / National Strength & Conditioning Association [J Strength Cond Res], ISSN: 1533-4287, 2014 Jun; Vol. 28 (6), pp. 1732-8; Publisher: Human Kinetics Pub.; PMID: 24172725;

2) http://www.outsideonline.com/1930616/compression-competition-or-running-recovery

3) Compression garments and recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage: a meta-analysis Br J Sports Med bjsports-2013-092456Published Online First: 11 June 2013


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