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What if your leggings could do more than just cover your butt and absorb all your sweat? What if they could actually help you have a better workout?
Compression leggings, in theory, are meant to increase blood flow to your lower muscles during exercise, and subsequently bring more oxygen to them, explains Natasha Trentacosta, M.D., sports medicine specialist and orthopedic surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles. However, there's just as much research confirming that wearing compression garments helps improve running endurance or cycling sprints as saying it doesn’t change a thing.
That said, a lot of athletes swear that wiggling into a pair is a game-changer. “Some people actually feel their strength and power improve while exercising in [[compression tights]], particularly during explosive movements, like plyometrics and heavy lifting,” says David Geier, M.D., sports medicine specialist and orthopaedic surgeon in Charleston, SC.
Plus, a 2018 study review by French researchers found wearing compression garments after a sweat sesh can help you feel somewhat less sore and less tired.
Compression can range from limp handshake to boa-constrictor tight, so it’s important to pay attention to the fit.“Make sure that they aren’t excessively tight, constricting motion, or uncomfortable at the joints, namely the knees and ankles,” Geier says. And ultimately, find the fit that feels comfortable to you.
That means go try on a lot of pairs. Here’s 15 to start with.