Ask a cyclist the benefits of their sport and they will keep your ear full all day long about how much they save on transportation and how amazing their legs are at the same time. These days, cyclists of all skill levels are getting even more out of their sport after discovering graduated compression socks. Alongside a cyclist’s typical sports medicine braces and supports to help their sore knees and ankles, compression socks can not only help to prevent injury, but help you ride longer and faster.
What do Compression Socks do?
Remember those early days of cycling? How you would ride five blocks then return and have sore legs for a few hours afterwards? Those memories are likely dug up each time you complete a particularly challenging ride. Sore muscles and body fatigue may just seem like part of the package, but many cyclists are finding that compression socks are a secret weapon. They prevent that normal wear and tear on the body, allowing increased performance and, more importantly, more time having fun.
Compression socks use a special fabric that constricts enough to effectively push fluid upwards with gradual compression. The compression is tighter at the foot and gradually eases up as it works up the leg. Contrary to what its name may suggest, the socks do not cut off blood flow, but instead stimulate it. The increased circulation delivers more oxygen to the muscles and increases performance.
Benefits of Wearing Compression Socks for Cycling
Before you go on that next long ride and ponder leaving those compression socks in the dresser, consider yourself missing out on these benefits.
- Reduced Buildup of Lactic Acid. Getting fresh oxygen to your muscles is a crucial part of any workout, it is why athlete huff and puff so much and coaches encourage breathing. When your body doesn’t get enough oxygen during a workout it causes a buildup of lactic acid which can cause soreness and cramping. Compression socks not only encourage oxygen-rich blood flow, but by moving fluid around, it prevents lactic acid from settling.
- Extra Leg Support. Cycling is not only hard on the legs, but the knees, ankles, and other joints. Cyclists with previous injuries in those areas may need to wear a sturdier brace, but other cyclists can prevent the wear and tear on their joints with compression socks. Wearing compression socks during a workout provides support, but by changing into a clean pair after a few hours of cycling, they can prevent fluid retention, muscle soreness, and swelling as well.
- Supreme Comfort. After years of wearing regular socks, it may not seem like the type of sock makes a difference, but after switching to compression socks, no regular sock will ever feel the same again. Compression socks are made specifically for left or right feet so they always fit like a glove. As you start to warm up during a workout, the material wicks away sweat and helps keep feet cool with temperature regulation. Combine that with the extra padding in the socks and your feet are sure to feel extra spoiled.
Knee-High or Ankle Socks?
Compression socks come in both knee-high and ankle length sizes and each have their own benefits. Ankle socks are formulated for cyclists that have swelling or poor circulation in their feet. However, in order to get the most benefits and muscle support out of compression socks, it is best to go with the knee-high model.
The original article can be found here.