Runners are probably familiar with this arguable question:
Can compression stockings help athletes run faster?
For those looking to enhance their running performance and speed, this question sparks curiosity around the continuously trending gear choice.
Christopher Lee, Buffalo, New York native, specializes in designing workout plans for clients that make them look and feel more athletic and help them avoid injury. As a certified personal trainer who strives to provide accurate fitness answers, Lee dives deeper into the research behind compression stockings and discusses whether or not wearing them affects running speed and workout recovery.
Features and Advantages of Compression Stockings
Compression stockings have several benefits to recognize. The stockings provide graduated compression that stimulates blood flow in the legs and supports leg muscles. The graduated compression finds success through its design of the elastic fabric that provides a tight feel fitted around the ankles and legs. The shaping fit of the stocking’s material generates pressure, which pushes fluid up the leg to the heart and increases circulation. For this reason, compression stockings are recommended to individuals with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) to help prevent clotting or pooling of blood.
Additional notable characteristics of compression stockings include reduced pain, discomfort, swelling, and fatigue.
Studies and Research
Science will reveal whether the compression stocking method is fact or fiction. To analyze an average runner’s results with and without compression stockings, researchers conducted a study of twenty-one male runners and observed them on a treadmill. Half of the men wore compression stockings that covered their ankles and lower legs, while the other half went without any compression wear. They found that the men who ran in compression stockings ran faster, on average, than the participants who did not.
An additional study revealed that runners wearing compression stockings had higher running abilities and were less prone to exhaustion. While there are studies proving compression stockings decreasing soreness and inflammation, the stockings’ influence on performance is still unknown. Recent studies have not yielded conclusive results; some research has shown a positive effect; other research suggests no correlation between stocking use and performance.
Should you wear compression stockings to increase your running speed?
For runners interested in elevating their speed, it never hurts to try new things. Due to the divide in accurate and consistent scientific evidence, wearing compression stockings is a personal experiment only you can attest. To get yourself started, research a reputable athletic compression stocking to try when running. Spend a week running in the stockings, record each run time, and note any benefits felt or seen, such as less swelling or no soreness. The following week, run bare-legged and still record each run time. Note any noticeable difference you feel in your legs after running. Compare your two weeks, and if you registered faster running times the first week and reaped the benefits from your compression stockings, then you know this gear works for you.
About Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee, originally from Buffalo, New York, is a certified personal trainer. Mr. Lee helps his clients build muscle and improve their overall fitness. Christopher supports his clients as they revamp their health and fitness routines, increase their metabolism, and get stronger. His exercise programs and training sessions are designed to help clients build strength, athleticism, and agility so clients can enjoy the activities and sports they love pain-free.