The other day while at a playdate a friend of mine approached me and asked, ”Hey! You’re an athlete….what the heck are compression pants? Do I need a pair?”
I first looked down at my hastily put together outfit of the day…my favorite hooded sweatshirt, tank top and a pair of blue compression pants. Then I thought a bit. I admitted to my friend I couldn’t quite remember why other people buy compression pants (mommy brain) but I loved mine because they keep me warm and honestly I just like the way they make me look and feel….keeping all my least favorite areas looking flat and tight.
The first pair of pants I bought after having a baby was a pair of compression pants because I was amazed at how they made my post- baby belly instantly vanish and gave me a much needed boost of self-confidence.
Of course as an athlete I use compression often for injuries or strains which helps keep swelling down so the injury can begin to heal. But why are so many amateur athletes & weekend warriors shelling out hundreds of dollars on compression wear for workouts? Is it worth it?
Compression wear comes in many forms: pants, tights, shorts, shirts, socks, even hats and is form fitting- made from spandex and polyester-type materials. The compression wear trend started with professional athletes making claims that it significantly increased their performance and recovery time. (Were they paid to make these claims? Perhaps…)
Manufacturers of compression wear market these claims to the consumer along with other benefits including keeping muscles warm to prevent strain, wicking sweat away from the body to keep warm or cool and staying in place to prevent chaffing and rashes.
Some even go as far to say when the gear is worn for a few hours after a workout, it will help to measurably reduce swelling and fatigue so you can get back out there sooner.
I did a bit of research and as much as we would like to believe we can be a stronger athlete from wearing compression gear it turns out the results of many studies done on the claims of increased performance have been inconclusive or insignificant for the recreational athlete.
So should you buy a pair of compression pants for yourself? I still say ABSOLUTELY!
My own experience is that they do wick away sweat to keep you cool or warm and dry, they stay in place reducing distraction and chaffing during workouts and the right pair flattens and provides stability to all the right places. All in all a fantastic wardrobe staple for moms!
When trying out compression pants here are a few tips:
- Remember that they will feel very tight at first and you may need to pull them on like hose.
- Try on a couple different sizes before purchasing to find which feels best.
- Pants come in different lengths for all tastes: 3/4, 7/8 and full length.
- If you’re a bit self-conscious wearing them at first, wear a tunic tank or top to cover your rear!
- Wear them for a workout or pair with a regular top or sweater when out and about (their versatility is what makes them so great!)
So forget diamonds (since it’s hard for moms of small children to wear nice things anymore). Compression pants are a mom’s best friend!