Today’s topic continues to follow mobility guru, Kelly Starrett, in our running series. This one is easy and doesn’t involve much thought after you get some of the items recommended.
Standard #9: Compression
Compression is a relatively easy and effective way to assist your body’s circulation and lymphatic systems in restoring worked tissue.
How it works: Squeezing blood vessels causes them to open forcefully, which allows more blood and oxygen into the compressed muscle and helps shunt waste. This in-with-the-good-out-with-the-bad increases the working muscles’ capacity to produce energy and allows the wearer to run faster.
Does it really happen?
Research conducted by the University of Newcastle found that lower body compression garments increase blood flow and reduce heart rate during high-intensity endurance running, supporting the theory that compression socks should improve performance.
Reduced Soreness: The foot striking the ground sends vibration up the runner’s leg and causes muscles to shake. This is thought to damage muscles and add to post-exercise soreness. Compression apparel secures the muscles in place to prevent muscular breakdown.
Does it really happen?
Research conducted by Massey University in Auckland found that there was a reduction in delayed-onset muscle soreness 24 hours after exercise when wearing graduated compression stockings after a fast-paced 10K road run. Interestingly, this study found that soreness was reduced specifically in the compressed muscle region. Ninety-three percent of subjects who ran without compression socks experienced lower leg soreness a day after the run, but only 14 percent of the subjects who ran with the socks had similar soreness.
Compression socks is something just about everyone can afford. It doesn’t require a lot of time either. You may be busy with work, don’t have the time or money for a weekly
massage, etc. Compression socks will do you good.
Starrett paints a nice picture for us to imagine: “After 9 months of training for a marathon, you board a 757 for a flight from Phoenix to JFK Airport and shoehorn yourself into the window seat. You bunch up a jacket and cram it against the hull to serve as a pillow, trying to sleep. When you make your first move to deplane, you feel as if you’re being extracted from a crashed car. It takes the better part of the next few hours to feel your legs again. The race begins the next morning. With 48,000 other runners, you tour 26.2 miles of the five boroughs and cross the finish line in Central Park. The celebration begins. Eventually, a margarita appears in your hand. The next day, you fold yourself into another window seat on another plane, the vessel climbs to cruising altitude, and you head for home. Your logs are throbbing from the 26.2-mile effort. But the race is over now, so what? ”
Most people know that flying accelerates dehydration, and that carrying a water bottle and getting up whenever possible during the flight to assist your body’s blood and lymph systems keep things moving into, out of, and around your cells. Use compression socks. Wear them at least some of the time every day. You can opt for the full leggings or more, but the socks are good too. You can wear them under suits, casual clothes, whatever. This is the easiest standard to follow yet.