Compression Wear: Not Just A Matter Of Style

The newest must-have accessory among basketballers today. What exactly does it do? In the high-stakes world of professional basketball, every millisecond, every inch and every ounce count in the relentless pursuit of victory. In light of that, players seek every possible advantage that they can get, and as a result, the number of basketball accessories worn has piled up over the years. In recent times, one newly-developed accessory has been embraced by the basketball fraternity, being worn by just about every professional player in the world. This accessory? Compression wear. So what exactly does compression wear do? Many youths nowadays also wear compression garments in an attempt to imitate the outlook of their idols, but not everyone understands the benefits that the compression gear provides. An accessory that confers no advantage is quickly discarded in the highly competitive professional worl; thus, the popularity of compression wear already hints at its worth. To understand the benefits that compression garments provide, we first have to understand what it is and how it works. Compression wear is essentially athletic clothing that fits tightly onto the body, thus compressing the limbs of the athlete. Through this property of the garments, they aid in maintaining an optimum body temperature, reducing muscle fatigue and preventing injury, thus boosting overall athletic performance. Maintenance of Body Temperature Thermoregulation, or the maintenance of an optimum body temperature, is important for athletic performance, as it helps to keep the muscles warm so that they can function more efficiently. Thermoregulation also results in the rapid removal of sweat from the skin, which aids in cooling down the body following the heat generated during exercise. Through gentle compression of the muscles when compression garments are worn, the body temperature is kept at a constant. Reducing Muscle Fatigue Muscle fatigue is reduced in two ways by compression wear. Decreased muscle oscillation occurs as the muscles are compressed and thus prevented from excess movements which results in inefficient energy usage. Thus, the muscles are able to work more efficiently, being compacted in an optimum position that minimises energy wastage, allowing the muscles to work for a longer period of time. Muscle fatigue is also decreased through a prevention of lactic acid build-up. When humans get tired, their capacity to perform aerobic respiration is reduced, and thus they have to rely on anaerobic respiration to get energy. However, anaerobic respiration results in the production of lactic acid, which causes muscles to stiffen and cramp. Compression garments prevents lactic acid from building up by compressing the limbs, causing a dilation of the blood vessels within, which increases the rate of blood circulation. Thus, lactic acid is removed from the blood stream more quickly, and the muscles are able to work for longer as lactic acid is not allowed to build up. Injury Prevention More efficient removal of lactic acid also aids the athlete in recovery. Without compression wear, blood circulation returns to a lower rate after exercise as less energy is needed. This, however, also means that waste products like lactic acid are not removed as efficiently. Compression wear keeps the blood vessels dilated so that lactic acid levels return to normal at a faster rate after exercise, aiding the recovery process. Compression wear is also able to lessen the impact that joints take during exercise, as they are fitted tightly around the joints, providing extra support to the muscles. Reduced muscle oscillation results in lessened delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). DOMS causes problems such as shin splints, which are thus reduced when the muscles are compressed. As we can see, athletic performance is improved through wearing compression garments, as muscles are able to function more effectively and for a longer period of time. Athletes are able to recover fast after exercise, and injuries are also prevented, which results in more efficient training. Thus, it is no wonder that professional basketball players have taken to wearing compression wear too. Hopefully, with our clarification regarding the benefits of compression wear, you may feel tempted to get it for yourself as well!

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