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The Advantages of Running in Tights

by
author image Henry Halse
Henry Halse is a Philadelphia-based personal trainer, speaker, and writer. He's trained a wide variety of people, from couch potatoes to professional athletes, and helped them realize their own strength, determination and self-confidence. Henry has also written for various fitness and lifestyle publications, including Women’s Health, AskMen and Prevention.

Improving your running speed and distance can be a slow and painful task. It's natural to search for any little training technique or gear that can give you an edge.

Try enough running gadgets and you'll realize that some of them help while some of them are a waste of money. Compression tights are helpful enough to give you a slight edge during your run and after when you're recovering.

However, you shouldn't expect life-changing improvements in your run from wearing compression tights. According to a 2010 article00202-8/fulltext) in the Journal of Science and Medicine and Sport, wearing compression tights can help you feel less sore, but at best you might see a small increase in time.

Best Type of Tights

There are two distinctly different kinds of running tights. The first is not very constrictive, and serves as a leg warmer. The second is a compression tight, which constricts your legs enough to improve blood flow.

Compression tights are helpful for performance, whereas regular running tights can only make you more comfortable or fashionable. If you're looking for an edge while racing or in training, compression tights are your best bet.

There are different types of compression tights available, too. The first applies even pressure down your legs from your hips to your ankles. The second kind is graded, which means that it gets progressively tighter as it goes down your leg.

The graded tights can be more comfortable and equally as helpful as tights that apply even pressure. Your legs get smaller as you go down from your hips, which means that the tights have to get more compressive to apply the same amount of pressure.

Compression tights are helpful because they help squeeze blood from the bottom of your legs back up to the top, so it makes sense to make the bottom tighter than the top, since more blood will pool in the bottom of your legs than at the top.

Read More: Health Benefits of Compression Support Tights

Improving Circulation

Wearing compression tights while you run helps you get blood back out of your legs. When you run your heart starts beating faster and moves blood around your body quickly. Your legs demand more blood since they are doing so much work and your body directs more blood down there.

The downside to having more blood in your legs is that it has a hard time getting back up. Your blood has to fight gravity to get back out of your legs. Your muscle surround your veins and help pump blood up and out of your leg every time they contract by squeezing the vein.

Compression tights work in a similar way. By squeezing the leg they prevent your blood from pooling in your leg. Your blood moves more quickly through your circulatory system since it's being pushed out of your legs faster.

Helping With Performance

Increasing circulation can help you feel less tired during your run. More blood coming back to your heart means more blood that can get oxygen. Oxygen gives your leg muscles fuel to help you keep running.

Improving blood flow also helps remove lactic acid. If too much lactic acid is in your muscles it can make them tired, so removing lactic acid quickly by wearing compression tights can help your running performance.

Read More: Cold Weather Running With Compression Tights Vs. Sweatpants

Less Muscle Soreness

After your run your leg muscles have been damaged and need to recover. The muscles swell up from the damage, which means that you have extra fluid in your legs. Wearing compression tights for a day or even two days after your run can help move that excess fluid out of your legs which makes you feel a lot less sore, according to a 2014 study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

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