Vitalsox Graduated Compression Socks- Training, Racing, Recovery
The Socks That Help Workout Recovery
If you’ve hit the path or checked out the crowd at your local 5K lately, you’ve likely seen athletes wearing tall, colorful compression socks. Some runners—and the companies who make the socks—swear the tight-fitting garments help you stride faster and recover more quickly.
But a new study casts doubt on at least some of these claims. In fact, college runners actually exercised for less time when wearing them, according to results just posted online in theJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
There’s a twist, though: Immediately after the tough treadmill session, runners in the study had lower levels of a compound called lactate in their blood. Because your body clears lactate as part of the recovery process, measuring it tells scientists how quickly you’re bouncing back.
The findings provide some evidence the trendy gear does speed recovery, probably by increasing the amount of blood flow to your lower leg, says study author Brian Rider, MS, CSCS, of the University of Tennessee. But more studies are needed to confirm whether putting on the socks after your workout has the same effects, or even whether these results apply to anyone besides highly trained athletes, he notes.
The bottom line on compression gear? “The verdict is still out,” Rider says. “Use compression socks if you like the way they look and feel, but be careful not to believe all of the claims.” If you want to give them a shot, choose a pair with graduated compression, meaning they’re tighter around the ankles and looser in the calf. Different brands use different materials, so try a few to find one that feels good for you, Rider advises. Runners in the study wore Athletic Recovery Socks from Sigvaris (; ).
Video: Compression Socks for Active Recovery and Running/Runners
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