A woman, shown from the waist down, wearing pink shorts, black running shoes, and white knee-high compression socks walks on a treadmill.

Future of Fitness

Brian Rider, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor of Kinesiology

More gain, less pain — in America’s fitness-focused society, that’s something everybody can get behind. In summer 2017, Dr. Brian Rider of the Department of Kinesiology tested the effects of wearing compression stockings during exercise. Working with student collaborators, he recruited 10 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 39 to work out on treadmills in the exercise physiology lab in DeVos Fieldhouse — sometimes wearing conventional socks, sometimes in compression socks. Technical tests found no evidence that compression socks had any impact on participants’ heart rates or blood lactate levels, but in surveys that the volunteers completed 24 and 48 hours after exercising, they reported less soreness after workouts in compression socks. Rider’s conclusion: Whether they provide physical benefits or simply increase people’s feeling of stability while exercising, compression socks appear to be a plus. This research funded by a Nyenhuis Grant followed up on Rider’s 2014 article in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and is part of his long-term focus on finding out what can make exercise more comfortable and enjoyable. In another study, he documented that watching TV while exercising increases enjoyment, too.