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Compression gear for increased athletic performance

C3fit women's calf sleeves
Photo courtesy of Goldwin, used with permission

Every athlete searches for tools to increase speed, performance, and minimize pain and injury. Compression gear may be one way to do so. Just as it sounds, compression clothing consists of fabric that fits tightly around certain areas, thus improving blood flow, carrying water and minerals throughout the body, and enhancing one's performance and recovery at the same time. Better blood flow can be achieved by gradually reducing the pressure on muscles and joints. The compression garments can be used for a variety of sports, including skiing, running, golf, hiking, and any type of work that requires someone to be on their feet for long periods of time.

During a long run, I tested the C3fit Foot Arch Spring Support Performance Short Socks from Goldwin, which are meant to provide firm support for the arch, even during long periods of activity. According to the product literature, "C3fit socks are designed to provide supporting pressure to the sole of the foot. Damage during exercise is reduced by alleviating the strain and impact placed on the sole of the foot." It also notes that compression garments can "support more efficient leg movement." I noticed when I put these on that my feet felt cool and snugly supported. My feet felt slightly less fatigued than normal during the run, and the fabric definitely worked to minimize the warmth that I normally feel with other athletic socks. I loved the snug, cool feel of the socks and will definitely fish through my sock drawer for these on days when my exertion level is higher than normal.

After the run, I tried Adidas' compression calf sleeve, and C3fit Performance Calf Sleeves from Goldwin to see if they would aid in recovery. Both of these products claim to support your muscles for more comfort and power. They can be worn before, during, or after exercise, but I chose to wear them after because I do not like the feel of anything constricting when working out. I put one on each leg a few minutes after I showered and changed after my run, and left them on for about an hour. Once again, I loved the feeling of my muscles being snugly encased in compression fabric. I am not sure whether my blood flow actually improved or not (one of the claims of the products), but my calves felt much less sore than they do without any compression garments. The fabrics felt cool and comfortable. I am going to make a habit of using these items during strenuous exercise!