Over the past few years, compression gear has become a huge trend in the athletic world. Go into any gym nowadays and you’ll find tons of people wearing compression tights, sleeves, shirts, and socks to work out in. But why? What does it do?
What is Compression Wear and What Does it Do?
Compression wear is a type of clothing that features panels of tightly woven fabric, meant to squeeze or compress certain parts of the body. Great for dancers of all ages, compression wear is almost like an ACE bandage (that your doctor might give for a strain or sprain) built right into your clothing. Athletes use compression shorts, shirts, leggings, sleeves, and socks depending on what muscle group they want to target. Dancers can typically find compression components in sports bras and shorts, but can also find them in items like the Shock.
What does compression wear do?
Compression does a few things for the body. It promotes blood flow which carries more oxygen to your muscles, resulting in better performance. The light squeeze of the clothing also reduces inflammation which is a leading cause of soreness during recovery. Some sources say that compression wear increases something called proprioception - basically your brain’s way of sensing where each part of your body is at any given time. As dancers, that can be a huge advantage over typical dancewear. This specialty gear also makes it less likely for you to get a strain, and lets you recover faster if you are injured. In products like the Shock, compression is used to help stabilize the ankle and foot while lifting and supporting the arch.
How do I care for my compression wear?
As with any garment, start by reading the label carefully. There are a few rules of thumb when it comes to compression care, but you definitely don’t want to mess up an item just because it didn’t require the same type of care as others. In general, hand washing your gear in cold water with a light detergent is a safe bet since machine washing can greatly reduce your clothing’s lifespan. For the same reason, allowing your compression wear to air dry will help extend its use.
Compression wear is a quickly becoming a staple in every dancer’s wardrobe, stop by the store to try it out and see if it’s right for you.