Among the many fans of compression sportswear and clothing, elite athletes top the list. The popularity of compression sleeves received a major boost when Allen Iverson used one in 2001. The sleeve was created by the NBA star’s doctor, to provide relief from bursitis and swelling in the elbow.
After Iverson scored 51 points in that game, compression sleeves became the next big thing for other players as well. Today, pro basketball players like LeBron James swear by compression gear, as do runners like London Marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe and 2012 Olympics 800m finalist Andrew Osagie.
Why Do Elite Athletes Use Compression Garments?
Compression clothing is believed to offer many health benefits for those involved in active sports. It’s equally popular among professional athletes and amateur sports enthusiasts, because of the boost it provides to performance, endurance and recovery.
Graduated compression applies different levels of pressure to your legs, arms, torso or other parts of the body. This helps to improve blood circulation, venous return and muscle oxygenation in that specific area. For an athlete, this means reduced joint/muscle pain, soreness, and stiffness after a game or training session.
So, Why the Fuss Over Copper-Infused Compression Clothing?
The use of copper-infused materials in compression garments takes the benefits to another level. Here’s an overview of how it helps when you’re playing sports, working out or leading an active lifestyle:
- Athlete’s FootA study conducted on collegiate football players revealed that they are at an increased risk of athlete’s foot due to their training environment. Copper has powerful anti-microbial properties, which helps to keep Athlete’s Foot and other infections that are triggered by sweaty feet at bay.
If copper compression socks are worn during training, they have the potential to prevent bacterial and fungal infections that thrive in warm and humid environments. This also prevents the itchiness, burning, dryness, scaling, and blistering associated with infections.
- Body Odour Foul foot and body odour are common problems among athletes. When sweat combines with heat, it creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. A foul odour can also be attributed to poor hygiene, the regularity of wearing closed toe shoes, and foot infections. When athletes wear the same item of clothing and sweat for hours together, it gives rise to unpleasant smells.
Since copper kills bacteria, fungi, and viruses upon contact, it prevents these microbes from feeding on your sweat and emitting nasty odours. It’s the most natural way to stay fresh, even if you’ve been sweating for hours! Copper is essentially self-sterilizing and so, even if copper compression socks or boxer shorts or gloves are washed less often, they will still efficiently keep unpleasant odour under control.
- Heat Regulation Humidity and intense heat give rise to two problems in an athlete’s body – dehydration and increased body temperature. The increase in core body temperature decreases muscles endurance. Due to this, the muscle’s ability to contract sustainably over a long time period suffers significantly during a longer athletic event and adversely impacts athletic performance.
Increased body temperature reduces the flow of blood to the heart and the blood starts pooling in the limbs. This makes it difficult for the heart to pump oxygenated blood back to the muscles. Copper is highly effective at thermal regulation. Wearing copper compression fittings boosts blood circulation and keeps hands and feet warm in any weather.
- Faster Recovery If you are a weightlifter or a bodybuilder, you cannot escape post-workout soreness and muscle strains, and sprains. Compression socks and leggings can help stabilize your lower leg after an injury, allowing you to recover faster. Copper compression fittings also fight inflammation and its antibacterial and anti-odour properties keep infections at bay. This makes the healing process even faster.
Copper clothing for athletes is also suitable for those recovering from calf pain or shin splits. But, wearing copper compression fittings can help accelerate the recovery by:
- Keeping your muscles in their correct position during and after workout
- Lowering the risk of strain by ensuring correct placement of muscle
- Increasing oxygenation and blood circulation to promote faster healing
- Eliminating lactic acid and reducing muscle pain
- Lowering muscle soreness caused by weightlifting
Copper compression shorts are also worn by athletes to prevent friction and chafing in sports like tennis, swimming, and cycling.
- Better Performance Runners who are training for distance need tools that can help reduce the risk of injury and accelerate recovery to maintain consistency. Copper compression socks helps with long-term training by helping runners prevent calf cramps and reducing the risk of ankle oedema.
Graduated compression improves blood flow, which can have a positive effect on your stamina and endurance. Copper compression socks for running also reduce vibrations in the lower leg, preventing tired/heavy feet.
- Less Swelling Sore muscles and swelling after training sessions and heavy-impact sports can be fatal especially if you’re dehydrated. Copper compression socks, gloves, and shorts are a great way to avoid delayed onset muscle soreness. According to an article published in the Men’s Health Magazine, wearing copper compression fittings during running, training, biking or playing sports can help reduce muscle soreness and swollen ankles or feet.
- Improved Muscle Oxygenation A publication by Research Gate revealed that compression garments are scientifically designed to boost the flow of oxygen in the muscle tissues. Your muscles need oxygen to perform at peak efficiency during intense workouts. Copper clothing for athletes is designed to promote blood flow and oxygenation in the body. This in turn, enhances athletic performance during short training sessions.
- Comfort Copper-infused boxer shorts apply pressure on the butt and thigh area. Athletes may find such garments with little wind resistance more comfortable. Compression shorts also cause less friction as compared to conventional athletic shorts. Copper compression fittings also don’t rise up when you are stretching, squatting, jumping, running or doing other exercises.
- Moisture Wicking Staying dry and comfortable is crucial during sports, especially to prevent chafing and irritation. Copper-embedded compression garments wick moisture away, and allow complete mobility no matter how long you wear them. Copper clothing for athletes is designed to wick sweat and stickiness away from the body through evaporation and avoid bad odour while keeping you cool and comfortable.