Other Subject Area

Exercise training


International Journal of Exercise Science 14(7): 1036-1051, 2021. In athletic populations, compression socks (CS) may improve exercise performance recovery. However, their potential to improve performance and/or recovery following exercise in non-athletic populations is unknown. Our study evaluated the effects of CS on exercise performance and recovery from a graded maximal treadmill test. Insufficiently active adults (n = 10, 60% female, average physical activity ~60 minutes/week) performed two graded maximal exercise tests; one while wearing below-knee CS, and the other trial with regular socks (CON). Order of trials was randomized. For both trials, heart rate, lactate, and rating of perceived exertion were measured at each stage and at one, five, and ten- minutes post-exercise. Additionally, recovery variables (soreness, tightness, annoyingness, tenderness, pulling) were measured at 24 and 48 hours post-exercise using a visual analog scale. Paired-samples t-tests were used to compare exercise and recovery variables between CS and CON trials. Heart rate, lactate, and rating of perceived exertion were not different between trials for any stage during the exercise test or immediate recovery. Most 24- and 48-hour recovery variables were significantly improved after the CS trial, with values 34.6 - 42.3% lower at 24 hours and 40.3 - 61.4% lower at 48 hours compared to CON. Compression socks provided a significant and meaningful improvement in recovery variables 24-48 hours following maximal exercise. Therefore, CS may remove a common barrier to exercise adherence and facilitate more effective training recovery for insufficiently active adults.