Technology

Is Compression Gear Worth The Money?

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It feels like a flashback to the exercise videos of the 1980’s – compression wear is here! Although being ignored for quite some time they are now making their way back into the spotlight and into both women’s and men’s closets. They promise improved performance, simply by wearing them. Are they worth the money and is compression gear actually able to offer more than just a nice, tight butt?

 

WHILE WORKING OUT

New research shows that wearing compression gear can help with the overall performance of the muscle underneath. When working out, the muscle can actually get inflamed, and in response to such an inflammation the body increases fluids and sends white blood cells to the affected areas. An increase in pressure, swelling and pain is the consequence. Compression gear works by constricting the affected area; it puts pressure on the muscle. There is no fluid build up, no swelling, therefore no pain.
“Compression garments also may increase blood flow to the muscles, which removes creatine kinase, an enzyme in your muscles that leaks out after muscle damage and can cause the ache,” says Jessica Hill, M.S.c., a U.K.-based exercise scientist who authored a 2013 review on the topic, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

When tested on athletes compression wear actually showed little to no effect: A small group of athletes was told to wear tights, while another group was told to run in their normal exercising gear. After a 10km run blood samples were taken and after comparing oxygen intake and running gate they showed little difference.

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POST WORKOUT

Again, research finds that tights can help you reduce muscle soreness after a workout and avoid dreaded pains. Spanish scientists had a group of soccer players wear a compression sleeve on one leg, and nothing on the other leg. Then the group of athletes had to do run downhill, which is an activity that triggers soreness in the muscle. The result: they showed 27% fewer markers of soreness in the leg wearing compression gear compared to the free leg.

Another study found that marathoners who wore compression tights in the 24-hours after crossing the finish line felt less sore, but not completely ache free. They did experiences faster muscle recovery.

 

CONCLUSION

So, should you fork out the money for gear that may or may not work? Research does not give clear results as to whether wearing compression gear actually helps athletes exercising.
The general rule regarding controversial results: It’s up to you. There doesn’t seem to be any harm in wearing compression gear and if at all, it will help you recover from an exhausting workout (rather than preventing it). Furthermore, the mind is the master. Placebos have been clinically proven to work! If it feels good, it is good, and reason enough to stick to it.

 

Need For Speed – How Music Messes With Your Body

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Listening to music while running makes you feel lighter, better and studies show that you not only feel faster, but you actually are faster… at least a little. The research, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, tested the effect of music on 15 runners before, during and after they ran a 5km course. Important were measurements like heart rate variability, brain activity and arousal, during-run perceived effort and time, and post-mood.

Before the run test participants listened to motivational music, which sets at about 110 to 150 beats per minute – the measurements showed a decrease in vagal tone, which is a brain process related to the autonomic, or involuntary, nervous system; vagal tone affects the operation of internal organs, including the heart. In practical terms, a decreased vagal tone means that pre-run music aroused the runners and, according to the researchers, better prepared them for their 5K time trials. So far, so good.

Actually being on the 5km track, the runners listened fist to slow music with round about 80 to 100 beats per minute, and then to faster music, with 140-160 beats per minute. Although the first couple of rounds were run significantly faster then without listening to music, the time difference for the rest of the course was considered statistically insignificant.

Post-run, the athletes listened to calming music (95 to 110 beats per minute). As opposed to the no-music-at-all runners, their vagal tone increased, which means that their internal systems, including heart rate, were more quickly returning to normal. Because the goal of post-run recovery measures, such as hydration, nutrition and gentle exercise, is to speed the body’s return to its pre-workout state, this finding suggests that slow music after a hard run can help in that process.

So, what to make of this? Decide for yourself. Even if it doesn’t show in your actual laps times, and it’s just to make you feel better during a vicious hill sprint, or to give your life run a soundtrack, it’s worth it. Below there are some running music ideas to get you out of the house.

 

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CASUAL SUNDAY MORNING RUN
(not to confuse with the Ausfit Saturday morning run)

Eagles – Hotel California
Adele – Rolling In The Deep
Gorrilaz – Feel Good Inc.
Ben Howard – Keep Your Head Up
Passenger – Shape Of Love (ft. Boy and Bear)
Vance Joy – Riptide
Adele – Rumour Has It
Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines (ft. T.I. and Pharrell)
Sean Kingston – Beautiful Girl
M.I.A. – Paperplanes

MID-TEMPO-STILL-TALKING RUN  (around 140 BPM)

Coldplay – Charlie Brown
One Republic – If I Lose Myself
AJR – I Am Ready
Kings Of Leon – Sex On Fire
Sheppard – Geronimo
Sam Smith – Money On My Mind
A-Track  – Push (ft. Andrew Wyatt)
Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks
Meghan Trainor – Lips Are Movin
Linkin Park – Bleed It Out

SPEED OF LIGHT RUN AKA I’M PUMPIN’ (160-180 BPM)

Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Can’t Stop
Michael Sembello – Maniac (from Flashdance)
MC Hammer – U Can’t Touch This
Skrillex – Bangarang (ft. Sirah)
The Prodigy – Firestarter
Tailor Swift – Shake It Off
Foo Fighters – The Pretender
Pharrell Williams – Happy
Mumford and Sons – Little Lion Man