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Can compression tights help you run faster?


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Photo: Stocksy/Jojo Jovanovic

If you’ve been suffering through the act of putting on compression tights (let’s be real: it’s a workout in itself) in the hopes that a pair could shave a few seconds off of your mile time, stress no more: Science says you can return to your regular leggings.

A new study conducted by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found that, despite the widespread assumption that squeezing into a pair of engineered pants boosts performance,  they might not be doing as much help as you think, reports CNN.

They discovered that wearing the high-performance leggings didn’t have an impact on participants’ stamina or speed.

The major claim with compression tights is that they prevent your legs from “vibrating” during a run, which, in turn, allows your body to channel more power into every stride. To test the theory, researchers put 20 experienced runners through their paces on a treadmill for half an hour on two separate days (one time rockin’ the tights, the other just shorts). They discovered that wearing the high-performance leggings didn’t have an impact on participants’ stamina or speed.

“We found that compression tights actually reduce the amount your muscles vibrate, but that wasn’t associated with any less fatigue during a 30-minute, high-intensity run,” says Ajit Chaudhari, the lead researcher of the study.

Of course, the special tights can still offer extra support and help with circulation—just don’t rely on them to increase your speed. For that, you’re going to have to depend on your good ol’ gams to do that for you.

Powerhouse runners share the best advice they’ve ever received. And this is why it’s so important to “prehab” before putting in miles. 

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