Do Compression Tights Really Improve Running Performance?

iStock
iStock

You’ve seen them everywhere and you might even own a pair or two. Compression tights are supposed to boost athletic power and help keep us from getting tired during workouts. But can they actually do that? A new Nike-sponsored study says no. The research was recently presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Athletic-wear companies claim that compression tights can essentially hold your muscles in place, decreasing energy-sucking vibrations. The fewer the vibrations, the theory goes, the less energy you’ll expend, and the less tired you’ll become.

Many fans of compression gear also swear by its performance-enhancing properties, which, they say, can help them run farther and faster.

To find out if tights can really do all these things, researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center recruited 20 experienced male runners. They brought the athletes into the lab, hooked them up to heart monitors and motion-capture devices, and set them running on sensor-filled treadmills. They tracked the runners’ performance on two separate days, one with compression tights worn, and one without.

A man runs on a treadmill while a researcher monitors his progress and vital signs on a screen.
The Ohio State University

Study co-author Ajit Chaudhari says that wearing the tights did indeed reduce muscle vibration. “However, the reduced vibration was not associated with any reduction in fatigue at all," he said in a statement. "In the study, runners performed the same with and without compression tights.”

After a half-hour of intense exertion, the tights made no significant difference in runners’ jump height, jump landing loading rate, or muscle strength.

Still, Chaudhari notes, that doesn’t mean compression gear is useless. Athletic performance is as much about state of mind as it is muscle tension. "There is nothing in this study that shows it's bad to wear compression tights," he said. "Every little bit of perception counts when running long distances, so they may help runners in ways we aren't able to measure."

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

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How the Scientist Who Invented Ibuprofen Accidentally Discovered It Was Great for Hangovers

This man had too many dry martinis at a business lunch.
This man had too many dry martinis at a business lunch.
George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images

When British pharmacologist Stewart Adams and his colleague John Nicholson began tinkering with various drug compounds in the 1950s, they were hoping to come up with a cure for rheumatoid arthritis—something with the anti-inflammatory effects of aspirin, but without the risk of allergic reaction or internal bleeding.

Though they never exactly cured rheumatoid arthritis, they did succeed in developing a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that greatly reduced pain of all kinds. In 1966, they patented their creation, which was first known as 2-(4-isobutylphenyl) propionic acid and later renamed ibuprofen. While originally approved as a prescription drug in the UK, it soon became clear ibuprofen was safer and more effective than other pain relievers. It eventually hit the market as an over-the-counter medication.

During that time, Adams conducted one last impromptu experiment with the drug, which took place far outside the lab and involved only a single participant: himself.

In 1971, Adams arrived in Moscow to speak at a pharmacology conference and spent the night before his scheduled appearance tossing back shots of vodka at a reception with the other attendees. When he awoke the next morning, he was greeted with a hammering headache. So, as Smithsonian.com reports, Adams tossed back 600 milligrams of ibuprofen.

“That was testing the drug in anger, if you like,” Adams told The Telegraph in 2007. “But I hoped it really could work magic.”

As anyone who has ever been in that situation can probably predict, the ibuprofen did work magic on Adams’s hangover. After that, according to The Washington Post, the pharmaceutical company Adams worked for began promoting the drug as a general painkiller, and people started to stumble upon its use as a miracle hangover cure.

“It's funny now,” Adams told The Telegraph. “But over the years so many people have told me that ibuprofen really works for them, and did I know it was so good for hangovers? Of course, I had to admit I did.”

[h/t Smithsonian.com]