Compression tights won’t trim running times

While they keep muscles from vibrating, fatigue still sets in.
It's not bad to wear compression tights, but runners perform the same with and without them. (For Spectrum Health Beat)
It’s not bad to wear compression tights, but runners perform the same with and without them. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

If you’re an avid runner and you think compression tights might shave a few seconds off your time, a new study begs to differ.

Runners were monitored while they ran on a treadmill on two different days, once with compression tights and once without.

The Ohio State University researchers found that while compression tights greatly reduce muscle vibration, they don’t reduce muscle fatigue, which means they don’t help runners go farther or faster.

The study was to be presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting, in Denver.

“When your muscle vibrates, it induces a contraction that uses energy, so the theory was that less muscle vibration would translate to less fatigue,” study leader Ajit Chaudhari said in an Ohio State news release.

“However, the reduced vibration was not associated with any reduction in fatigue at all. In our study, runners performed the same with and without compression tights,” Chaudhari said. He is an associate professor of physical therapy, orthopedics, mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering.

“There is nothing in this study that shows it’s bad to wear compression tights,” Chaudhari added. “Every little bit of perception counts when running long distances, so they may help runners in ways we aren’t able to measure.”

Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

SOURCE: Ohio State University, news release, June 1, 2017.

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