Get better, stronger, faster. It's all in the pants and socks! How hospital clothing is making it's way to the streets helping with recovery of a different kind.
With each stride, the muscles vibrate. They draw blood down. With that kind of movement, how do runners get up for the long haul?
Look up at these pants for the answer. Strange shapes help keep you in shape and protect your muscles.
John Moloznik: "Taping muscles allows you to tape the muscle in the fired position so that way it cuts down on vibration and also puts the muscle in the optimal zone for firing. You can tell based on the zones on this piece, where that taping zone is and that's where the more compressive restrictive areas are."
Dr. George Chiampas, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Sports Medicine Physician: "Every time an individual's foot hits the ground, that vibratory force may cause some muscle damage. And the socks, basically you can minimize that vibration and the damage, thus preventing or prolonging fatigue from setting in."
The compression is based on medical gear aimed at increasing blood flow. Doctors say it works for athletes as well.
Dr. George Chiampas: "Let's say you are running a 10K or a 20K, hopefully, if you are wearing the socks and you minimize the vibration over a long period of time, fatigue may not set in until 90% of your run versus 75% of your run."
I tried the compression pants in a recent race -- shaving nearly a minute off my personal record time.
John Moloznik: "All of us have tried it. We've experienced it first hand and have been able to prove the research that they've done and told us and sold us on."
Researchers actually measured muscle strength and blood flow while people were running. Compression technology improved both. Based on studies, Zoot says it's clothing offers a 29 decrease in lactic acid buildup and a 25% reduction in perceived effort. Saucony's version promises to increase oxygen and endurance while decreasing exertion.
Dr. George Chiampas: "Runners are always looking for that edge and the one thing that may make a difference in their sport and I think that's where compression stockings fall into place.
Some people also sleep in compression clothing as it promises to help them recover better. There are socks, pants and shirts available. Most people start with the socks. Even those who travel or workers who stand all day wear them to improve blood flow.
For more health news and information, check out www.healthkey.com.
Performance Enhancing Pants
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
The Baltimore Sun encourages civil dialogue related to our stories; you must register and log-in to our site in order to participate. We reserve the right to remove any user and to delete comments that violate our Terms of Service. By commenting, you agree to these terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.