4 Essential Items For Optimum Athletic Performance

4 Essential Items For Optimum Athletic Performance

Do you know why superman man has superpowers? It’s because he’s wearing compression gears (minus his cape and his supposed-to-be-underwear overgarment). You can also notice that swimmers, football players, and weightlifters are wearing them too! Did this form-fitting, superhero-like clothing make them superb?

All kidding aside, there are many sports equipment and apparel that play significant roles in one’s optimum athletic performance, apart from sports and physical capabilities. Along with compression garments, here are four essential items that can boost your athleticism.

Compression Garments

The usage of compression garments has its roots in the medical field. This is medically used to increase blood flow and disperse lymphatic fluid. With their medical background and health benefits, compression garments became a trend in sports and workout training.

Specifically, compression accelerates your recovery by improving your blood circulation back to the heart, inducing the exchange of nutrients and oxygen for waste products in your bloodstream. As a result, this clothing is now worn by many for their one’s post-competition or post-workout recovery phase.

To add, listed down is the other benefits you can get from wearing compression garments:

  • Draws sweat away
  • Shortens recovery period
  • Increases muscle oxygenation, especially in the lower extremities
  • Reduces perceived exertion
  • Decreases edema symptoms
  • Relieves pain
  • Reduces muscle fatigue
  • Improves athletic performance

This said compression involves pressures ranging from 20 to 40 mL of mercury, which is used depending on the clinical indication. In general, higher compression is used during exercises, while lower compression is applied during recovery.

Foam Roller

Using foam roller is well-known as one of the key precursors to a dynamic warm-up as it evokes self soft-tissue mobilization (SSTM). SSTM offers a myriad of benefits such as:

  • Decreases lactic acid level
  • Decreases muscle fibrosis or scar tissues
  • Lowers the chances and risks of injury
  • Improves muscle tightness and flexibility
  • Increases blood flow
  • Improves movements
  • Encourages a range of motion
  • Decreases recovery time

Moreover, it’s simple to use for one’s self-myofascial release or self-massage. In case you’re not familiar with the term, self-myofascial release is a habit of many weightlifters or athletes, where they apply low-intensity forces on their soft tissues using their body weight against the roller for some time.

Along with the abovementioned benefits of SSTM, the self-myofascial release offers a lightened internal rubbing that improves both blood and nutrient flows and relaxes contracted muscles, allowing muscles to operate with smoother motion. Its health benefits improve fitness at a very reasonable price (more or less 30$).

Knee Sleeves

Have you ever noticed those sleeves placed in the knees of most NBA players or some of the Olympics participants? Those are knee sleeves, which are totally different from knee braces. Knee sleeves are used to protect knees from ‘future’ injuries or risks of physical damage, whereas knee braces are worn to keep ‘previous’ or ‘present’ injuries from further damages.

Here’s a guide in picking the right knee sleeves thickness for you:

1.3mm

  • light, best worn when carrying light equipment
  • ideal for athletes in long-distance and endurance training
  • helps wearer regain control over their knee movements, especially when feeling worn out after training or a game

1.5 mm

  • a typical type that can be used for most sports and extra knee support when training at the gym
  • best for mixed activities, like sports or training that requires both agility and support

1.7 mm

  • offers powerful stabilization
  • ideal for heavy lifting and rehabilitation as an extra support
  • initially worn by weightlifters, but many athletes wear it nowadays as this kind provides a sharp receptive input of the knee that can sure precise and secure performance of activities, which is beneficial for many sports

Knee sleeves also function as a mechanical support mechanism for athletes’ joints. Wearing them reduces pain and swelling that may occur during or after a workout, training, or game. It also increases blood flow that is essential for one’s recovery.

Further, all of this happens because these sleeves compressed your knees, allowing blood to flow smoothly in the blood vessels. In brief, compression added with better blood flow is equals to better recovery.

In addition to its compression factor, studies show that knee sleeves also improve both knee joint proprioception and kinesthesia. In simple terms, proprioception is the awareness of the position of joints, while kinesthesia is the perception of the movement of joints.

The sleeves’ compression causes the skin to move over underlying subcutaneous tissue and muscles. As a result, the athletes would have a better realization of distance and muscles moved, suggesting a development in kinesthesia and proprioception, respectively.

Athletic and Kinesiology Tapes

Apart from knee sleeves, athletic or kinesiology tapes are also scientifically found to improve one’s proprioception and overall athletic performance. It all started when a high-profile beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh wore these tapes during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and piqued the interests of many from weekend warriors to world-class competitors.

Athletic tapes are thick and non-elastic rolls that immobilize injured muscle groups or joints to provide stability and support to the affected area. Kinesiology tapes, on the other hand, are elastic ones that offer therapeutic benefits for areas that need recovery.

How can these strips of tapes make a dramatic difference in one’s athletic performance? Studies show that, when placed on the skin, kinesiology tape can prevent the pathways of pain signals to reach the brain. As a result, they’ll more likely decrease the risks of muscle spasms, and increase muscle tone, improving your athletic performance.

Additionally, these tapes can also offer a number of recovery benefits, including:

  • Provides support on injured or weakened body areas
  • Reduces injury risks
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Delays muscle fatigue
  • Realigns joint tissues
  • Reduces pain

For severe injuries where a single, small movement of the injured area may cause other damage, use athletic tapes for support. The said tape will be tightly wrapped over the injury that may cause moisture and lead to irritation, so don’t leave the tape on the affected area for too long.

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