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Recovery 101: Compression Socks

Compression socks are a key element of every successful runner’s wardrobe.  A pair of graduated compression socks, which are tightest at the ankle and gradually lessens to have less pressure at the top of the calf, is an inexpensive way to keep your muscles filled with nutrients, prevent fatigue and speed recovery.  You can also try compression pants, shorts, back braces and arm sleeves for all of your muscle groups but it’s easiest to start small which means socks are the best route.  Here are the reasons you’ll want to head out and grab a pair today.

1.  Compression socks and sleeves provide additional support to muscles and limit movement which will lessen fatigue and improve performance.  Compression will also help clear the lactic acid that results from a hard session clear out of working muscles.  This increase in lactate threshold can ultimately lead to improved performance.

2.  Compression socks will alleviate swelling and inflammation without changing the body’s response.  Unlike ice, compression doesn’t mute the body’s response to muscle damage but encourages it to work.compression socks

3.  The pressure of compression socks will help deoxygenated blood travel back to your heart faster.  Muscles are then filled with blood rich in the oxygen and nutrients needed to help them repair at a faster rate.

4.  Ever fly?  Compression socks or sleeves are a must, especially after a race.  They’ll help keep blood circulating to damaged muscles, legs fresh and your whole body hydrated.

Now that you know slipping on a pair of compression socks can help your body get better faster, head to your local running store or buy some online.  There are a number of brands in a variety of price ranges that offer every color or pattern you could want to match each pair of your workout shorts so finding what you like best can be something fun.  My favorites include BioSKin Calf Skins for workouts and CEP Compression Socks for travel.  Start wearing them after every workout and any time you flight to see just how much your recovery rate can improve.

Coach Meredith