Athletes know that they need every advantage they can get, so compression gear is a no-brainer. Compression garments have been found to improve fatigue recovery, help prevent injury, promote blood flow, and enhance muscle functions among other benefits — but you may not know that compression gear can provide the extra element of body temperature regulation in cold weather. Winter sports athletes — including skiers, runners, ice skaters, bobsledders, and lugers — rely on cold weather compression gear to keep their bodies in top shape during training and competition.
No matter your sport or workout, understanding the benefits of cold weather compression gear will help you select the right apparel to keep you performing at your best.
The Science Behind Compression Gear and Cold Weather
Any athlete or active individual can tell you that your body acts differently when the temperature drops, so it makes sense that you need to treat it distinctively by the weather conditions. Compression gear, such as a compression shirt or compression tights, provides a necessary base layer in cold weather that allows you to stay warm and reduce the risk of injury such as strains and pulls.
Difference between compression gear vs. regular workout clothes
Sweatshirts, sweatpants, joggers, and other unfitted workout apparel don't provide the same temperature regulation and support that compression gear does, especially when it comes to winter sports and activities. For example, CW-X's skiing tights are made with WarmStretch temperature-regulation fabric to maintain a constant surface temperature in a variety of conditions, including cold temperatures. In addition, the compression gear's fit offers support to muscles and joints during high-endurance activity. The CW-X ski tights feature a patented EXO-WEB support panel that maps muscles and joints to provide stability without restricting range of motion, combining compression with the benefits of kinesiology tape.
Benefits of compression gear in cold weather
Compression gear is helpful for athletes year-round — by providing support and stability for muscles and joints, it aids in preventing injury and improving recovery time from injuries or fatigue. In cold weather, compression garments also aid in temperature regulation, further enhancing protection from excessive muscle strains and pulls. Compression gear is snug yet allows for full mobility without causing you to overheat during sweat sessions like wool or other heavier fabrics.
The tight fit of compression gear — clothing should be snug without cutting off circulation, and you should feel like you have a full range of motion — helps improve blood flow. That means it fights off lactic acid that builds up during exercise and the resulting soreness.
Reduced muscle fatigue
Many researchers believe that compression may reduce muscle vibrations, resulting in improved muscle control and a better workout. Compression gear is structurally designed to enhance blood circulation and oxygenation, reducing muscle fatigue and distress that can lead to injuries.
Some compression apparel is designed to help recover from existing injuries, but compression gear can also play a role in preventing these injuries from occurring by aiding recovery and fatigue. From sleeves to socks, compression wear can be worn during and after exercise to help improve blood flow, and encouraging fluid movement in the body means getting rid of waste products from exercise. Therefore, muscles will get more oxygen and recover more quickly.
Just as athletes have to take precautions in extreme heat — such as extra hydration — the same is true in cold weather. Low temperatures can tighten muscles, but compression gear assists in regulating body temperature. In addition to providing a layer of warmth, compression apparel also wicks sweat away to keep your body dry during tough workouts.
In addition to the other benefits of compression gear, it is extremely useful for sports such as running, skiing, bobsledding, luging, and speed skating where there is a need to reduce drag in order to improve performance times. Compression wear is tight and secure while keeping the athlete warm, making it the perfect clothing for these sports.
Types of Cold Weather Compression Gear
There is a variety of cold weather compression gear available for both men and women that are beneficial for a wide range of winter sports. Unlike sweatpants and sweatshirts, compression clothing provides an unbeatable combination of warmth, support, and flexibility so you can get a full workout in without worrying about the weather.
CW-X’s women’s ski leggings collection is crafted for high-performance compression, comfort, and warmth for any outdoor adventure. WarmStretch™ temperature regulation helps keep your muscles cozy without overheating while the moisture-wicking feature keeps your body dry even when sweating. Meanwhile, the 2-Way Stretch EXO-WEB panel provides extra support to hips and knee joints. Available in full-length or ¾-length, they are perfect as a base layer under ski pants or as your go-to pants for a winter run.
CW-X’s men's skiing tights, available in full-length or ¾-length, are popular as a base layer for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding or as a pants option for cold weather running or speed skating due to its moisture-wicking fabric and temperature regulation. The design provides extra support for muscles, hips, knees, and lower back while providing a secure fit with an elastic waistband and interior flat drawcord.
Knee compression sleeves provide extra stability to the joints during physical activity, allowing wearers to stay comfortable on the move with added support. They're also a popular option for athletes with knee problems or past injuries.
How to Wear Compression Gear
Cold weather compression gear can be worn as both a base layer under other clothing or as the only layer, depending on the activity and temperature. The benefits include body temperature regulation, moisture wicking, reduced inflammation, and muscle support.
As a base layer
Compression tights and leggings should be put on first under other apparel, acting as a supportive second skin during your workout. Based on the temperature and the activity, you can continue to add more layers such as joggers, sweatpants, or ski pants. Compression tops can also be worn as a base layer under sweatshirts and coats.
As the only layer
For events such as outdoor running, speed skating, or other activities where you want to reduce aerodynamics, compression gear provides adequate warmth without further apparel.
Compression gear is a vital part of any athlete's closet, especially when pushing through difficult activities in the harshest weather conditions. And with so many options available, you can also find something that's both stylish and functional.
CW-X has a range of products featuring patented EXO-WEB technology, which mimics kinesiology-taping techniques that trainers apply to injured muscles. When this technology is applied to muscles and joints, it creates an exoskeletal support system that improves biomechanics while in motion. When it comes to cold weather compression gear, their products featuring WarmStretch temperature-regulation and breathable fabric helps maintain a constant comfortable surface temperature in a variety of conditions — a must-have for the winter athlete.