Origin Story (Not the Wolverine One)

In 2017 I [Ian] walked into a store looking for a really nice tee for a special, yet casual date night rock climbing. I couldn’t find one that night but I didn’t stop looking. I went to dozens of different stores that had nothing close to what I wanted. I went to multiple times as many websites and found many made-to-measure brands.

My main problem was that things still seemed cheaply made, then imported, and had no consciousness for sustainability. Many were still ill fitting even though being made-to-measure. After months finding nothing I decided I could make one. I got a highly reviewed pattern online, picked out some nice fabric, and got sewing. This didn’t fit, so ever the perfectionist I kept going. Next I created my own pattern and made shirts for myself. These fit exceptionally well.

Before long my friends wanted some for themselves. I was proud of all I learned and could not turn them down. Eventually tired of drawing out all these patterns by hand I applied my knowledge of programming to do it for me. This made things go much faster. Next I built a machine to do all the cutting for me as well.Before I knew it I had created algorithms to make customizing patterns for others even easier. Soon enough I stepped back, looked at my creation, and realized I had already created the basis for the technology we currently use.

Once firmly deciding I’d like to offer these tees to others I started searching for the perfect fabric. I went to a few trade shows, searched the internet, and even called around to local manufacturers. I built relationships with these people where I began to trust them and they began to trust me. Before long I had the whole supply chain setup. Since then we’ve made the algorithm even more advanced. We’ve tied our systems together to automate pattern generation, cutting, sorting, and many more things. That initial altruism that started with my friends will always be at Molded Apparel’s core. MA is the perfect intersection of technology, manufacturing, and our passion to help others.

-Ian Landi


What Should I Wear Rock Climbing?

Many don’t realize that, when it comes to rock climbing, especially if you’re out for a long, multi-pitch journey, the clothes you wear are almost as important as your harness, shoes, and the REST OF YOUR EQUIPMENT. It also doesn’t matter how good the rock is—if you’re uncomfortable, you won’t enjoy the ascent. So you’re prepared, here are a few things to consider when you start getting dressed for a full day’s activity.

1. Take the Weather and Conditions into Account

In your approach for this and any outdoor trip, be sure to check the weather before heading out. Figure out how hot it will get, how sunny or cloudy it will be, and whether or not you might get caught in some passing rain showers, and dress accordingly. In response, leave a little room in your pack for a rain jacket and an extra layer or two just in case.

2. Consider Materials

The very nature of climbing—in which joints bend deeply, stressing the fabric from within, while abrasive surfaces scrape the clothing from the outside—can cause your garments to break down prematurely. As a result, this is one of the few activities where we won’t tell you “cotton kills”; instead, a cotton tee is going to hold up a whole lot longer than anything with Molded Apparel Tees.

It’s important to note, however, that you may want to stay away from cotton if you’ll be multi-pitch climbing, during which you’ll be on the face for an extended period. If you were to wear a cotton shirt, you’d get nice and sweaty during your journey up and then be stuck in a wet, uncomfortable garment at each belay.

For any activity that requires hiking at some point, 100% cotton should also be avoided, as, in these situations, durability and stretch are best sacrificed for wicking. Recently, bamboo-cotton blends have become more popular and are great at controlling moisture while affording you some stretch.

3. Start Up Top

The most important thing to think about when choosing a shirt for a day of climbing is your freedom of movement. Your arms will need to move unrestricted throughout, and you don’t want to be stuck in a shirt that inhibits your range of motion in any way.

In fair weather, women often opt for a tank top or sports bra, while men frequently go shirtless. Tees are also a fine choice, as long as they don’t hamper your movement. In cooler temperatures, a comfortable, loose-fitting long-sleeve shirt should do the trick.

4. Decide Between Pants or Shorts

Just like what you wear on the upper body, pants and shorts should be comfortable and allow you to move. It’s also a good idea to go with styles that feature a gusseted crotch to avoid a potentially awkward situation.

Many climbers prefer shorts over pants, especially the loose-fitting athletic variety, though this will also leave your knees exposed to scrapes and cuts when they bang against the rock. As an alternative, choosing capris or three-quarter-length pants will offer a little more protection.

If you opt for full-length pants, make sure the legs aren’t so long that they interfere with your footwork. Should you step on them, simply roll the cuffs up while you climb.

5. Relax When You Go Indoors

While you can, of course, wear the same garments for indoor climbing as you would for an outdoor jaunt, you don’t have to be quite as concerned about clothing when you’re just heading to the gym. Since the climate is usually controlled, the routes are never too long, and the wall is typically smoother and has fewer snagging surfaces than a real rock, you can pretty much wear whatever you feel most comfortable in.

Climbing is a great way to stay in shape and get out into the wild. Just be sure you’ve got the right clothes, hardware, and shoes before you start your ascent.

-Henry Remington

The Rise of Coworking Where You Work Out

Capitalizing on the growing market for coworking spaces and catering to a lucrative clientele of young professionals, many gyms are incorporating work areas into their facilities. Rachel Bachman takes a look at the trend in the Wall Street Journal.

The Rise of Coworking Where You Work Out

BROOKLYN BOULDERS’ SOMERVILLE CO-WORKING SPACE (BROOKLYN BOULDERS)

Sensing a surge of demand, gyms are responding by building or expanding workspaces for members to set up laptops, charge phones and conduct business—sometimes for the entire day. The idea is to keep gym-goers lingering longer and accommodate the rising number of people who work remotely.

The lounge/workspace at Equinox’s SoMa location is about 1,150 square feet. If it continues to gain popularity, Equinox will expand it to as large as 6,000 square feet, says Aaron Richter, Equinox’s vice president of design. At the Equinox in London’s Kensington neighborhood, “I’ve seen people do full-on job interviews in the lounge,” he says. Equinox, which has 81 locations in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, is creating or enlarging lounge/work areas at several other clubs. It’s also building the spaces into almost all new clubs.

Health-club operators say providing workspaces gives members another reason to keep paying dues. It also increases members’ spending on discretionary items like smoothies, yoga pants and massages.

This isn’t a brand-new idea: Brooklyn Boulders Somerville, a pioneer of the concept, opened outside Boston in 2013. Ariel Schwartz profiled the climbing gym-cum-coworking space in Fast Company a few months after it opened:

The workspace, planted in the middle of a 40,000-square-foot climbing facility, is located on top of a 120-foot-long and 22-foot-high climbing wall. There’s free Wi-Fi, a lounge area with couches, a communal table, a smattering of standing desks with built-in pull-up bars, seated desks with balance ball chairs, and a few quiet spaces. No special membership is necessary—any member of the climbing facility can work there for free. “It’s like the sauna. It’s a perk of the facility,” says [BKB Somerville’s “Senior Cultural Chameleon” Jesse] Levin.

He believes that one of the main benefits to using the co-working space is the proximity it gives to the kinds of people who would want to work in a climbing gym. “Climbing inherently attracts venture capitalists, artists, programmers,” Levin says. “It’s a very cerebral sport, and they mix naturally. We’re giving them a space where they can embody and live this lifestyle.”

The Somerville experiment proved so successful that Brooklyn Boulders has incorporated coworking spaces into all of its new locations, Kyle Chayka reported in Bloomberg last year after taking a tour of the company’s Queens facility, then under construction:

For a monthly fee of $115, BKB offers members a holistic “lifestyle-domicile,” [co-founder Lance] Pinn says during a hardhat tour of the gym during its construction. The premise is to tap indoor rock-climbing’s popularity among those in the tech industry, a trend that puts physical fitness next to disruptive potential and laptops next to free weights. But it’s easy to see the gym more as a kind of millennial day care, at which members can drop themselves off and stay for days. “We want to make a facility that you don’t want to leave,” says Pinn[.] …

Other gyms are picking up on BKB’s all-inclusive approach. In spring 2016, a similar climbing-oriented lifestyle center will open in northeastern Washington, D.C., featuring climbing walls, co-working spaces, a coffee roaster, and a beer garden. The “hipster playground,” as the Washington Postcalled it, is the work of Joe Englert, a veteran Washington developer and restaurateur. “All three things dovetail into each other: coffee, climbing, beer,” Englert says. “If you’re snagging a bit mid-morning or mid-afternoon, you go and boulder for a couple hours, you’re totally rejuvenated, get your laptop into the coffee place or beer garden, and you’re in the game. As long as you don’t do beer before the climbing, we’re good to go.”

Fashion and Animal Welfare: Everything You Should Know Before You Buy

Animal welfare may not be the first thing you consider when it comes to fashion. But if you love our furry, feathery and scaly friends as much as we do at Molded Apparel, then there are a few things you should know before you shop.

You’re standing in front of the mirror in your silk nightie and boots putting together an outfit for the day ahead. Do you wear the beige suede skirt with the grey cashmere sweater? With the black leather ankle boots and matching leather tote? Is it cold enough for a coat? Do you pick the trench with the fur trim or the woollen pea coat?

Let’s take a look at some of the key issues concerning animal welfare in the fashion industry.

Leather

Leather has long been a staple in our wardrobes, however, we often overlook the animals whose skins become our jackets and shoes. Every year large numbers of animals, including cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, crocodiles, snakes, stingrays, seals, emus, kangaroos, horses and more are killed for their skins by the leather industry. Many of these animals are factory-farmed, which can involve extreme crowding and confinement, deprivation, and painful treatment at the hands of workers.

The majority of the world’s leather comes from India and China, both of which are countries which lack animal welfare legislation. However, even in developed nations such as Australia, animals raised for leather do not have the same legal protection as pets, meaning they are often subject to painful procedures and even abuse. Contrary to popular belief, leather is a profitable resource, not simply a by-product of the meat industry.

What are some ethical alternatives?

  • Buy second hand or recycled leather. Hit up your nearest op-shop or vintage markets to find some sweet secondhand threads. Not only is vintage leather likely to be of higher quality than fast fashion leather products, buying secondhand is a great way to minimise your carbon footprint!
  • Buy vegan leather. Just keep in mind that not all vegan leather is created equally. Much vegan leather, or ‘pleather,’ is made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) plastic, which Greenpeace lists as one of the most environmentally-damaging plastics. Check out these ethical, sustainable vegan fashion labels for some eco-friendly alternatives. Eco-friendly materials like Pinatex (made from pineapple leaf fibres) are game changers when it comes to leather alternatives.

Wool

Wool is considered a winter wardrobe staple, but it isn’t always produced under ethical conditions. There are a number of concerns regarding animal welfare in the wool industry including pain and discomfort caused to the sheep by their handling and living conditions. PETA has revealed instances of mistreatment of sheep in Australia (which produces much of the world’s merino wool). Many Australian sheep undergo a painful and largely ineffective procedure called mulesing in which flesh is cut from the animal’s buttocks, often without anaesthetic. This procedure is used to prevent flystrike, which is a common problem in the hot Australian climate.

What are some ethical alternatives?

  • Buy secondhand wool. There’s no shortage of cute vintage sweaters and woollen coats in op-shops and vintage boutiques. With the right care, quality woollen coats will last decades.
  • Buy wool alternatives. Materials such as certified organic cotton and bamboo, hemp, linen and some synthetics are kind on the environment and 100% cruelty-free!

Fur & Exotic Animal Skins

Animals including rabbits, minks, goats, foxes, crocodiles, alpacas, llamas, and even dogs and cats are coveted by the fashion industry. Their fur and skins are used to make a variety of what’s marketed as ‘luxurious’ clothing. Fur also includes the fibres cashmere and angora, which are sourced from the Cashmere goat and the Angora rabbit.

Though the 90s saw fur become taboo for a short time due to PETA’s successful celebrity-endorsed campaign, it has seen a comeback on catwalks and red carpets recently. While you’re more likely to come across faux fur than real fur in the average fast fashion store, some major brands such as Missguided have recently been found to have mislabelled garments made out of real fur as faux fur.

Animals Australia found that “85% of the fur industry’s skins come from animals raised in battery cages in fur farms, where animals are deprived of quality of life.” In fur farms, animals are often killed through beating, gassing and electrocution. It is even common practice in China to skin animals alive. The World Society for the Protection of Animals revealed that up to 80% of fur is produced in China, a country that has no animal welfare legislation and protection laws. Fur that is not produced in fur farms is obtained either by trapping or killing wild animals. Though often considered a more ‘natural’ and ‘humane’ method of acquiring fur, trapping is highly distressing and painful for animals.

What are some ethical alternatives?

  • Buy secondhand or recycled fur. If you love the look and feel of fur but don’t want to support the horrors of the modern fur industry, there’s often a decent range of pre-loved fur coats at vintage boutiques and markets.
  • Buy faux fur. But we recommend that you avoid fast fashion faux fur garments, as they are often made from non-renewable, petroleum-based products including polyester and nylon. Look for faux fur crafted from recycled or other sustainable materials.

Down

Down feather is prized by the fashion industry for its low carbon footprint and its ability to insulate against freezing temperatures. However, to gather down, feathers are collected from ducks, geese and swans. This is done either while the birds are still alive, or after they have been killed. Because farmers have to meet large demands, and because, like fur or hair, feathers grow back, most down is obtained by live plucking. This is a very painful process that sometimes causes the birds to accidentally break their limbs as they struggle to escape.

PETA estimate that a single farm can undertake close to 250, 000 live pluckings a year. They also found that some suppliers certified by the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) are still sourcing live-plucked down. More concerning is that up to 80% of the world’s down is produced in China, a country which currently has no animal welfare laws in place.

What are some ethical alternatives?

  • Avoid live-plucked down. Some brands such as Patagonia have vowed to not use live-plucked down in their products, instead choosing to use only recycled or traceable downfrom birds that have not been force-fed or live-plucked.
  • Buy down alternatives. Ethical brands such as Vaute offer a huge range of cosy vegan jackets and coats made for the chilliest of climates.

Silk

Silk has been revered as a luxury for thousands of years. Silk is made up of the threads that form the cocoon of the mulberry silkworm (Bombyx mori). The threads are extracted by boiling the cocoon with the pupae still inside. This method can be controversial.

What are some ethical alternatives?

  • Buy Ahimsa (Peace) silk. Aptly named, ‘peace silk’ is made from the cocoon of a silkworm after it has undergone metamorphosis and left the cocoon as a moth. As the cocoon is ruptured, the long, singular silk strand is broken up into smaller strands, which must be woven back together to create a premium quality silk. However, there are even some ethical concerns with peace silk, and there is no regulatory guidelines or certification for its production.
  • Buy from ethical brands. If you do buy silk, choose brands that are dedicated to sustainability and ethical practice, including Promised Land and SilkBody.

Animal cruelty in fashion is enabled when there is a demand for the product, so when shopping for a new item for your wardrobe, buy cruelty-free.

Article originally from goodonyou.eco by :
Lara Robertson

Day Hiking Checklist

Heading out for a day hike is a delightful way to explore nature with friends and family, or even by yourself. Whether you want to go deep into the mountains or stay closer to home, the places to go are numerous; many state and national parks offer broad networks for trails, as does national forest land. To find a hike in your area, head on over to Hiking Project.

To determine what you need to bring on a day hike, think about how far you plan to hike, how remote the location is and what the weather forecast has in store. In general, the longer and/or more remote the hike is and the more inclement the weather, the more clothing, gear, food and water you’re going to want. If you’re just getting into day hiking, be sure to read our Hiking for Beginners article before you head out.

What to Bring Day Hiking

These items should be on your hiking checklist:

  • Hiking backpack
  • Weather-appropriate clothing (think moisture-wicking and layers)
  • Hiking boots or shoes
  • Plenty of food
  • Plenty of water
  • Navigation tools such as a map and compass
  • First-aid kit
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • The rest of the Ten Essentials as appropriate for your hike

How to Use This Day Hiking Checklist

While you’re packing, use this handy day hiking checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything important. Here are some notes on how to best use this list:

  • The Ten Essentials: Items that are part of the Ten Essentials are marked by an asterisk (*). The exact items you take can be tailored to your trip based on considerations such as weather, difficulty, duration and distance from help. To learn more, see our article on the Ten Essentials.
  • This checklist is deliberately comprehensive and intended for day hikes in the backcountry where being self-sufficient is important to your well-being. It includes many more items than you’re likely to need for short treks in or near developed areas, like city parks, though you can adapt it to your needs for these trips.
  • Printer-friendly PDF: Print out the PDF version for easy use at home.

Printer-friendly version (PDF)  

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Hiking Gear


A backpack is the primary piece of gear for day hiking. One that holds 11–20 liters is about right for short, simple hikes, while something bigger is good for treks where more food, water, clothing and gear is required. Learn more about choosing a daypack.


Optional:

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Clothing & Footwear


Check the forecast and make sure to dress for the conditions. To be prepared for changing weather or an unplanned night out, pack extra clothes beyond those required for the trip. It’s also important to consider how much protection your clothing provides against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. For footwear, determine what to wear based on the terrain. On gentle hikes on smooth trails, hiking shoes or trail runners are sufficient. For treks on rocky, rugged trails, boots will provide more support. Learn more about choosing hiking clothing and footwear.

  • Boots or shoes suited to terrain
  • Socks (synthetic or wool)
  • Extra clothes * (beyond the minimum expectation)

Additional items for rainy and/or cold weather:


Optional:

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Food & Water


Pack snacks like energy bars, jerky and nuts that you can eat easily on the trail. Some people like to bring a sandwich for lunch, too. For water, you can usually start with about two liters per person for the day, but adjust the amount depending on length and intensity of the hike, weather conditions, your age, sweat rate and body type. Learn more about choosing energy food and how much to drink.

  • Lunch
  • Extra day’s supply of food *
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Navigation


Navigation is one of the Ten Essentials. The type of trip you’re taking and your personal preferences will determine exactly which items you’ll bring.


Optional:

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Emergency & First Aid


  • Whistle
  • Two itineraries: 1 left with friend + 1 under car seat
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Health & Hygiene


  • Prescription medications

Sun protection:


Optional:

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Tools & Repair Items


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Day Hiking Extras


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Personal Items


  • Credit card and/or cash
  • ID

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Is Compression Gear Really Effective?

Of those that were published, no scientific evidence existed to support the athletes’ claims of reduced delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), less fatigue, improved performance, improved venous return, less edema post-competition and faster recovery.

As a result, their use during competition was not endorsed by many clinicians, athletic trainers and physical therapists. However, due to their popularity and continued use by professional and recreational athletes, scientists have investigated the mechanisms behind the purported benefits of compression garments. As a result, several peer-reviewed papers have been published on the topic and it is certainly a topic worth revisiting.

What Does Compression Gear Do?

Clinically, compression gear is designed to deliver specific levels of pressure to the affected limb. Typical pressure ranges are from 20 to 40 millimeters of mercury, depending on the limb and the clinical indication.

Off the shelf stockings may deliver 30 to 40 millimeters of mercury of pressure whereas custom stockings deliver 40 millimeters of mercury pressure at the ankle, 36 millimeters of mercury at the lower calf, and 21 millimeters of mercury at the upper calf. These pressure levels are designed to enhance venous return and reduce edema in patients with various vein disorders.

They look cool, come in a variety of fashionable colors and patterns, keep you warm at that in-between temperature, are easily discarded should you get too warm (and are not half as expensive as a technical shirt), and are trademarks for athletes including Allen Iverson and Paula Radcliffe.

Compression garments are one of the latest trends to hit the performance gear shelves. As with most trends that come and go in sports, it takes a while for the science to catch up with the practice. About five years ago, when compression gear first became popular as a potential ergogenic aid, there were very few published reports regarding their efficacy.
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Several other studies have been published to support that compression garments reduce post-exercise declines in jump height, minimize strength loss, decrease muscle edema (swelling), and ease muscle soreness (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23007487http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20195085http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20376479).

In the instance of running, although anecdotal arguments exist to support that compression garments improve performance during an event, the literature proves otherwise. Compression calf sleeves did increase oxygen saturation of the blood in subjects at rest before the exercise and during the recovery process, but no improvements were observed in running performance or the time to fatigue in subjects wearing calf sleeves, according to Menetrier, A.Compression sleeves increase tissue oxygen saturation but not running performance.

One of the laboratories that reported a beneficial effect of compression garments on muscle recovery also evaluated well-trained endurance athletes during exercise. Results showed that subjects’ ratings of perceived exertion, muscle soreness and time to exhaustion were unaffected by compression garments (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20391083). Even though one report demonstrated an effect of compression garments on endurance running performance in athletes, the experimental design involved a custom designed whole body compression garment (full-length bottoms and long-sleeved tops).

In the article,The effects of whole-body compression garments on prolonged high-intensity intermittent exercise, by J.A. Sear, the practicability of this garment is questionable, and the improvements in total distance covered (less than 1/4 mile) and tissue oxygenation were modest. Similarly, although results from another laboratory indicated that wearing lower-body compression garments improved venous flow, the performance improvements were deemed trivial to athletes, as they did not correspond to improvements in endurance running performance (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21725102).

When Should I Wear Them?    

A review of the literature does indicate that compression garments have a place in sport, particularly for athletes who train and compete on a regular basis. While there are relatively few scientific reports of performance gains while wearing compression gear during competition, there is certainly compelling evidence to support that compression gear helps the recovery process.

Whether following a hard race, a long training run or a hard workout, compression garments can facilitate recovery and reduce post-exercise muscle soreness. The critical point to remember is the importance in allowing the body to incorporate necessary recovery strategies so that proper adaptation may occur.

While one would caution against constant use of compression gear, it does hold a place in the athletes’ arsenal, similar to ice-baths, massage and nutritional supplements.  

Also, keep in mind that these reports were conducted with newly purchased compression garments or custom made compression garments that delivered a specific level of pressure to the limb under investigation. Very few athletes who purchase compression gear for sport are aware of the pressure gradient or how well it is maintained during competition or over the life of the garment. Repeated washings and wear are sure to reduce the compression after just a few uses, subsequently altering their effect.

In the healthy athlete, compression gear serves a different role. Most who choose to wear compression garments anticipate that they will experience improved circulation and mechanics. It is thought that compression garments may reduce muscle oscillations which will theoretically optimize the contraction direction of muscle fibers, resulting in improved mechanical efficiency and running kinematics.

Use of compression gear may also reduce vibration in skeletal muscle during training and competition. It is hypothesized that the reduced vibration would contribute to less muscle trauma, and as a result, less fatigue and biomechanical alterations during the course of an endurance event. Following the event, the combined benefit of these outcomes would be reduced exercise-induced muscle damage. 
As a result, athletes are expected to experience less soreness, edema and faster recovery in the days after exercise.

Based on these speculative mechanisms of effect, marketing terminology for compression gear includes words such as improved thermoregulation, reduced muscle oscillation, and increased circulation. As an informed consumer, it is always good to take a look at the most recent data which is summarized below. Please keep in mind that the literature is difficult to interpret with one main stance on compression gear due to the experimental design discrepancies among various studies.

For example, there is significant variability among studies to include the type and duration of exercise, the measures used as indicators of performance or recovery, the training and health status of the participants, the duration that the compression garments were worn, the total duration of wear, the pressure applied and the area of the body covered.

What Does the Research Show?

Individual assessment of compression gear research shows some benefit, although it’s mainly during the recovery process. For example, one report says no significant differences in sprint performance (time or distance covered), throwing performance (distance or accuracy), heart rate response or blood measures.

The one change observed during exercise was higher skin temperature. However, during the 24-hour period post-exercise, blood markers of muscle damage were lower and the athletes reported less soreness, according to the study by Duffield, R. and M. Portus, Comparison of three types of full-body compression garments on throwing and repeat-sprint performance in cricket players.

In another example, subjects performed 30-minute bouts of moderate and high-intensity running on a treadmill while wearing compression gear. According to the study by Lovell, D.I., Do compression garments enhance the active recovery process after high-intensity running? Decreased heart rate and lactic acid were documented during the recovery period post-exercise. The results of this study are encouraging as reducing lactic acid and recovery heart rate have important implications for athletes that perform repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise in a single competition.

By Maria Urso