Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Compression Garments on Autonomic Nervous System Recovery After Exercise

J Strength Cond Res. 2017 Jun;31(6):1636-1643. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001621.


The aim of this investigation was to evaluate the recovery pattern of a whole-body compression garment on hemodynamic parameters and on autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity after a swimming performance. Ten young male athletes were recruited and tested in 2 different days, with and without wearing the garment during the recovery phase. After a warm-up of 15 minutes, athletes were instructed to perform a maximal 400-m freestyle swimming event, and then time series of beat-to-beat intervals for heart rate variability (HRV), baroreflex sensitivity (BRS), and hemodynamic parameters were recorded for 90 minutes of recovery. The vagally mediated high frequency (HF) power of R-R intervals, NN50, and pNN50 showed a faster recovery due to the costume; meanwhile, the low frequency (LF) spectral component of HRV (LFRR) index of sympathetic modulation of the heart and the LF:HF ratio and BRS alpha index (αLF) were augmented in control than in garment condition. When athletes wore the swimsuit, cardiac output was increased and the returning of the blood to the heart, investigated as stroke volume, was kept constant because of the reduction of the total peripheral resistances. During control condition, heart rate (HR) was restored back to baseline value 20 minutes later with respect to garment condition, confirming that the swimsuit recover faster. The effectiveness of the swimsuit on ANS activity after a maximal aerobic performance has been shown with a greater recovery in terms of HRV and hemodynamic parameters. Baroreflex sensitivity was reduced in both conditions, maybe due to prolonged vasodilatation that may have also influenced the postexercise hypotension.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Athletes
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Baroreflex / physiology
  • Cardiac Output / physiology
  • Compression Bandages*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Swimming / physiology
  • Vascular Resistance / physiology
  • Young Adult