Helllooooo….Finally the weather is turning around, which means running season is here!! With Covid restrictions still in the air, and gyms still not available we are looking for alternative forms of activity and exercise.

Enjoying the weather while exercising seems like the perfect combo and for that reason running has picked up much popularity. Why not right? No equipment, no hassle, just step outside and go.

Its one of those fitness activities that target the entire body. YES it helps to lose weight, YES it helps to improve cardiovascular fitness, YES it does enhance muscle strength and endurance, HOWEVER, many fail to realize that it is a high impact activity.

You will see the bright colour running shoe trend, but have you noticed the knee high socks? Only they are not just any sock, rather, compression socks. Infact people are using compression socks during exercise more frequently.

So why compression socks? Initially, compression socks were prescribed by doctors for years especially in the elderly population, those the vericose veins and poor circulation etc.

However, the benefits of compression garments are being rapidly recognized more recently amongst athletes and the fitness industry. These athletic compression socks usually within the class 15-20mmHg do not require a doctors note!

Research suggests that compression socks enhance the performance of athletes, improve the blood flow in lower limbs, reduce muscle soreness and prevent muscle spasms.

Here are a few benefits justified by clinical trials.

  • Low grade compression socks provide comfort during running, as reported by athletes. (1)
  • The compression socks improve blood flow to the limbs. Consequently, the muscles are provided with adequate oxygen, which reduces the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), and enhances the athlete’s performance in high impact running. (2)
  • Compression stockings enhance the arterial perfusion and venous return and prevent the leakage of blood from capillaries. This reduces lactate accumulation in the muscles thus preventing soreness, and improving the athlete’s performance. (3)

Compression socks have become easily accessible and are now common in the ‘runner’s world. They come in comfort, style and even neon colours for the enthusiast out there. Remember, running is considered a high impact activity that may result in repetitive stress injuries. Correct foot wear is essential, and maybe consider compression socks for its added benefits… just some food for thought.

REFERENCES:

1. Ali A, Creasy RH, Edge JAJEjoap. Physiological effects of wearing graduated compression stockings during running. 2010;109(6):1017-25.
2. Brophy-Williams N, Driller MW, Kitic CM, Fell JW, Halson SLJJos, sport mi. Wearing compression socks during exercise aids subsequent performance. 2019;22(1):123-7.
3. Kemmler W, von Stengel S, Köckritz C, Mayhew J, Wassermann A, Zapf JJTJoS, et al. Effect of compression stockings on running performance in men runners. 2009;23(1):101-5.