Whether you're a pro athlete, or you simply spend some of your free time running as a way of maintaining physical fitness - the chances are you've reached that point where your muscles burn, your heart pounds, and you feel as though your calves are screaming at you to slow down. Everyone reaches a state of muscle exhaustion at some point during a workout, but most of us don't fully understand why this happens.
Following, we'll cover how compression supports your muscles, and how calf compression sleeves can help to cut down the amount of pain and discomfort you feel during a run, as well as improving your recovery speed after a workout.
Why Your Muscles Get Tired
Before we can explain how compression supports your muscles, you need to first understand why your muscles feel exhaustion. The simple answer is that it's all about oxygen. Oxygen is the fuel that keeps your muscles working during exercise, powering you to go farther, and faster across that finish line.
When your muscles are struggling to get oxygen, they produce a substance known as lactic acid, which causes the tiredness and burning sensations all runners experience at some point. The process your body goes through during a run looks something like this:
- Blood passes through the lungs, picking up oxygen to deliver to the muscles.
- The heart pumps oxygenated blood to the muscles where it picks up waste lactic acid
- The deoxygenated blood returns to the heart, ready to re-start the process.
To reduce fatigue and tiredness, your body needs to be able to move oxygen around muscles more efficiently, while returning deoxygenated blood to the heart and removing unwanted lactic acid as quickly as possible. This entire process has a direct connection with compression clothing.
How Compression Supports Your Muscles
Compression clothing uses a system of graduated pressure, which places greater stress on the muscles that are farther away from the heart. For instance, with a calf compression sleeve, the compression near the ankle is often stronger than the compression level closer to the knee. This squeezes the calf muscles and gives your veins a helping hand in pushing deoxygenated blood back up the legs and into the heart.
In simple terms, by fighting back against gravity, compression clothing helps athletes to run faster as they receive more oxygen in the blood to power their muscles, and recover faster because they can remove lactic acid quickly, reducing soreness in the limbs. At the same time, calf compression sleeves can be particularly helpful for runners concerned about issues like sprain and shin splints, as they help to keep the calf muscles in place and reduce the amount of vibration absorbed during a run.
Improve Your Running Skills
While there are a lot of factors involved in improving your running ability, compression plays a large part in supporting the process of circulation that helps to keep your muscles working at their optimum levels as you run. This is one of the many reasons why so many professional athletes invest in compression sleeves and other compression garments when preparing for races and competitions.