Body Helix Compression Wraps Review

I received a complimentary Body Helix Compression Full Knee sleeve in exchange for writing this review.

Body Helix makes a full line of compression products for just about any part of the body that may experience inflammation from a sports injury or arthritis.

Applying compression for shoulder or piriformis pain can be a challenge. Body Helix has compression wraps for these areas plus thigh, calf, bicep, ankle and lower back.

As a runner, I frequently deal with inflammation in my knees. Often this inflammation is experienced as the pain most runners are familiar with.

Over my seventeen years of running, I’ve been in physical therapy several times. In addition to stretching and strengthening exercises, my PT always recommends R.I.C.E.

I’ve read many articles on sports injury and they usually recommend R.I.C.E also.

So what is R.I.C.E. ? It stands for: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

Body Helix explains how compression aids in recovery as part of R.I.C.E.

Rest, ice and elevation are fairly easy to do, but applying compression can be a challenge.

In the past I’ve used an ace bandage. But it’s easy to wrap them too tightly, and they are intended to immobilize a joint. If wrapped too thickly, ice may not be able to penetrate through to your joint.

A compression sleeve is a better option and I own another brand sleeve. It works pretty well but I can’t wear it under pants and I never run in it. It’s a good solution when I’m hanging around the house and don’t plan to do much. It does work well with ice.

When I had the opportunity to try a Body Helix full knee compression wrap, I checked them out on line and agreed to give it a try.

About Body Helix Compression

Body Helix was founded in 2008 by world-ranked senior tennis player Fred Robinson and physician, Thomas E. Parker, MD.

At the time, Fred observed that most compression gear was uncomfortable, ineffective and did not use the latest materials available.

Fred and Dr. Parker searched for a material that would stretch, rebound and stay in place. And most importantly, provide effective compression.

They developed a product that provides a uniform medical-grade compression in the range of 20-30 millimeters of mercury (or mmHg in the scientific community.) The higher the number, the more pressure we feel.

Twenty to 30 mmHg is the first range of medical grade compression and has scientific evidence documenting increased blood flow and the benefits of compression.

Body Helix has four main differentiating factors that set them apart from the competition:

FORM-FIT TECHNOLOGY

A Helix consists of comfortable, uniform medical-grade compression in the range of 20-30 millimeters of mercury (or mmHg in the scientific community.) As mentioned above, the higher the number, the more pressure we feel.

Twenty to 30 mmHg is the first range of medical grade compression.

Below I’ll discuss how the Body Helix wrap feels.

MOISTURE ACTIVATED ADHERENCE

You’ve seen the person at the gym or on the court stop to pull up their knee sleeve or adjust their thigh wrap. That won’t happen with a Helix.

Thanks to their fabric’s Moisture Activated Adherence, their sleeves utilize the heat/sweat from your body and allow the fabric to act like an adherent between your skin and the product. It won’t slip or move during activities.

The wrap didn’t slip during my 10K run.

CLOSED-CELL FABRIC SCIENCE

Other wraps soak up sweat and take forever to dry, which often leads to unpleasant odors from bacteria becoming trapped within the fabric.

Because a Helix features Closed-Cell Fabric Science technology, it won’t hold sweat or water and you’ll never have to worry about odors or health issues from trapped bacteria.

The wrap is easy to rinse and the smooth fabric makes it easy to wear under clothing.

INFINITE MOTION

Many other products will only stretch up to 50%, which often restricts joint movement while being active. Body Helix compression sleeves (created by professional athletes, by the way, so they literally feel your pain) is made of the highest quality compression material available and will stretch more than the human body.

What this means for you is simple: you won’t need to alter your mechanics of motion when you serve, swing, bend, or run. You can continue to play your game, your way, without limits.

The sleeve was easy to run in and allowed me to bend my knee comfortably while driving.

Body Helix Compression Review

I tested the Body Helix full knee compression sleeve under daily conditions and during a 5 mile race and 10K training run.

Body Helix full knee compression sleeve, product reviewThe Body Helix compression sleeve has a smooth surface and the material does allow for a full range of motion.

l was able to wear it comfortably under a pair of jeans, drive my car and run errands.

This isn’t the greatest photo, but you can barely tell which knee has the sleeve on.

The comfort of the sleeve makes it possible to go about your day and not be stuck laying on the couch.

Road Race Testing

At the Super Sunday 5 mile race I tested the Body Helix compression sleeve. I’ve never worn anything on my knees before and wondered what it would be like.

Body Helix Compression Sleeve, Super Sunday 2020My knees are not bothering me, but I knew this would be a great test.

It was February 2nd, so I had to wear tights. I think this is a real world situation that most runners can relate to.

The sleeve easily slipped over the tights material and was firmly in place.

As you can see, it blends in well with the tights and no one even noticed.

I ran the five-mile race in 41 minutes which is about my regular pace.

During the race I forgot I even had it on. It didn’t bind or pinch and I never felt like it was slipping off. This allowed me to focus on the race and enjoy my self. What more could you ask for?

When I got home I rinsed it in the sink and it looked and smelled like brand new the next day.

Comparison Run

For my next outside run I wore the Body Helix compression sleeve and a sleeve I already own.

I’ve never worn anything on my knees while running except for the Super Sunday race. This time I didn’t wear tights.

As I headed out I wondered if both sleeves would end up causing problems. The last thing I wanted to do was mess up a nice run by stopping to pull up a compression sleeve.

On bare skin, both sleeves were more noticeable. The other brand sleeve was rougher on my skin and covered more of my leg. The Body Helix sleeve was smooth and clung to my skin like a bandage.

About three miles into my run the other sleeve felt like it was slipping off of my thigh. When I reached down I found that it had barely moved, so I left it alone and never broke stride.

Neither sleeve felt like it was hindering my run. They both felt pretty comfortable and for most of my run I didn’t really notice them.

When I finished my run I took this photo. I’m not a professional, but this is what they looked like shortly after finishing my 10K run.

The top of the other sleeve had slipped a bit as you can see.

If I was running a half or full marathon, the other sleeve could have become an issue.

I’m not sure that I’d run a marathon if I felt that I needed to use a compression sleeve.

In my opinion, compression sleeves should be used as part of the R.I.C.E. recovery protocol. And if you are dealing with knee pain you should stick to shorter runs anyway.

A look at other Body Helix compression sleeves

I have shoulder pain currently and have experienced piriformis issues in the past. One of these items would have been great to have.

The web site does say that the shoulder sleeve may not work for everyone and they suggest using it after surgery and not for general pain relief and recovery. I’d give it a try any way.

The compression on my knee felt good and it’s near impossible to apply compression to a shoulder.

I’m not sure that there is a good way to apply pressure to the piriformis or a groin pull.

Check out the Body Helix web site for all of their products. You will probably find a compression sleeve to meet your recovery needs.

You can use promo code BH10RUN to get 10% off any item.

If you try one of their products let me know how it worked for you.

Run well my Friends,

Andy

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Surviving a Long Run

Surviving a long run can be a challenge

During the run

Most runners can run a 5K or 10K training run without any problems. Most of us don’t even need  Gatorade or gel to get through these runs. Once you get beyond your routine running distances and into the “long runs”, lots of things can go wrong.

Nike,Air Zoom Pegasus
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus

During a short run you may experience chafing from a new shirt, or blisters from new shoes. A long run is when the real world problems will show up. If your shoes are off just a little but you may not notice this during a 5K run. But when you run 10 plus miles in your new shoes those blisters can turn into a disaster.

A long run is the time to experiment. Sometimes I will try out new shoes or food and hydration items. If things go terribly wrong, I can walk home, call for a ride or catch a ride with one of the support team members. It is better to have your experiment fail during a long run and not during your race.

If you are following a training plan, try to run the pace that is called for. Long runs are typically run at a slower pace than shorter runs. You want to push yourself during a long run, but you also need to listen to your body.

After the run

Recovery from a long run is different than recovery from your normal run. After your routine training run you need to re-hydrate, maybe eat and take a shower. A long run pushes your body beyond the routine. You want to push yourself during these runs, but you also want to pay more attention to your post run routine.

I usually follow RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. When you get home take a nice hot shower. This will help relax your muscles. If you can, lay on a sofa with some ice packs on areas that are particularly sore. You have to be smart with ice packs as they can cause frost bite.

If you can prop your legs up with a few pillows this will give you the Elevation part. This often helps me get the ice packs pressed into the areas that I need it. I don’t do a lot with compression, but many people swear by compression socks or pants.

It’s important to eat after a long run also. There is debate as to whether this needs to be in the first 30 minutes after a run or it doesn’t really matter. There have been times when I have not been hungry, even after a marathon. Really long distances can mess up your system and your mind.

You should drink as much water as you want right after your run. Sports drinks will help replenish your electrolytes and carbs. I think it’s okay to have a bagel, sandwich or pretty much what ever you feel like.

I try to avoid overly fatty or greasy foods. These are usually too heavy for my stomach after a run. I also avoid high sugar items like donuts and pastry. You may find your self craving these items. That is your body telling you to get some carbs into the system. If you make smart choices post run, you can replenish your body’s energy stores without un-doing all of your hard work.

Get moving

There is some debate about stretching before a race. There is less controversy over stretching after a race or run. Your muscles are often tight and need some stretching after a long run or a race.

You should do what ever your normal stretching routine is after a long run. I would advise adding new stretches after your shorter runs. Your muscles are less fatigued and there is less chance of pulling something.

Walking around is better than sitting down after a long run. Sitting reduces the flow of blood to your muscles just when they need it most. Blood flow brings nutrients that your muscles need to repair themselves. Blood flow also carries away damaged cells and metabolic left overs from your run such as lactic acid.

Stairs can be painful after your long run, but they will really help stretch your muscles and tendons. Movement may be painful after a long run, but movement increases blood flow.

I hope you find this information helpful as you train for your fall races.

Run well my friends!

Andy

© 2014 anagelin

Tuesday Night Club Run

Club Run

It has now been two days since my 18.84 mile SLR.

I think the Tumeric – Elixir of Life, SuperJuice*, has been helping with marathon training recovery.

I have not run more than a half marathon since October. Two weeks ago I ran a Half and Sunday I went up to 18.84 miles. That’s a big increase in only a week.

natural medicine, alternative medicine

A single data point does not allow for any conclusions. But my legs felt great during tonight’s Club Run. 

I was able to run some really good splits. Usually my legs would be killing me a few days after making such a large increase in miles. I didn’t do any extraordinary stretching in the past 48 hours, just my usual routine.

I have two more bottles of SuperJuice* that I plan on drinking after my next two long runs. I have a 5K on Saturday and the club has a 20 mile Sunday Long Run. I may do the short route on Sunday. We’ll see.

But, I will drink the SuperJuice on Sunday and see how I feel on Tuesday.

*SuperJuice is my own creative description of this beverage. This description was not provided by or endorsed by TumericALIVE. I claim dibs on this one.

Live well my friends!

Andy

Boston Marathon Training 2014

Thursday night I finally sat down and updated my Boston Marathon Training work sheet.

I was doing okay with the training ramp up until my treadmill/knee incident on January 19th. My goal miles for January were 122.3 but I only managed 81.09. A lot of those miles were on the treadmill so I could avoid the cold weather and stay healthy.

Due to my injury, I took the week from January 19th through January 28th off completely. This was my heavy ibuprofen and icing phase. On medical advice I did not run at all. I even DNS the Derry 16 Miler. I couldn’t even give the number away! It’s a tough race right on the Merrimack river. So it’s cold and windy. On the 28th I finally started using the elliptical.

If it weren’t for the elliptical I would not have had any miles for almost a month. The elliptical took a bit of getting used to. One of the positives that I’m taking away from my injury is that I finally learned how to use an elliptical. This machine does work different muscles, so it will be good for cross training, and it does give you a good cardio workout.

On February 16th I finally went for a Sunday run with the MRC. Since it was my first real run since my injury, I cut my run short and only did 7.91 miles. Just about everyone else did 16 miles that day. Mine was not a #SLR.

I managed to pick up a flu bug and was sick on Monday and Tuesday. Monday was Presidents Day, a holiday. Getting off of the sofa for a glass of water felt like running in the last 0.2 miles of a marathon. Less painful, but just as draining. Tuesday was better but I did not have the energy to go to work. Wednesday was better, but I did not run all week.

Saturday I ran The Half at the Hamptons. I must have been the best rested runner that day. No running for a week! I managed to come in under 2 hours. Under the circumstances that is pretty good. My knee never bothered my the entire race. My hips bothered me for the last few miles. I need to work on that.

My goal miles for February were 142.8. I ended up with 42.47! I am screwed! My goal miles for March are 189.2. There is no way I can more than triple my miles this month. Well, maybe.

The New Deal

Eastern States 20 mile, Boston Marathon training

I have a 5K, a Half Marathon and a 20-Miler in March. I also have  four Sunday Long Runs of 18.1, 20, 17.8 and 20. Those will get me over 110 miles if I can finish all of those long runs. I have to finish the races, but I can cut the SLRs short. I may hit 150 miles this month if I am careful and take it easy on my long runs.

April miles are 88.2, including the Boston Marathon. I’ll probably fall a little short in April also. I traded a 14.8 SLR for the Over the Rainbow 5K, part of the LOCO series.

I love races and I’ll get to hang out with friends and drink beer while all of my other friends are out running The Great Bay Half. I think trading the Half for a 5K was a good move. Great Bay is one of the toughest half marathons I have ever run. With only two weeks to Boston, I wasn’t going to race at all. A friend talked me into the 5K and beer drinking. Gotta love friends!

Any thoughts of a PR at Boston are out the window at this point. This year it is about

Boston Marathon training

more than just running. Not having any pressure to have certain times at certain points of the race will allow me to enjoy the festivities more. It’s always a great time, even when it hurts. It’s Boston. What’s not to love?

Run well my Friends.

Andy

Time on my hands

Instead of time on my feet, I now have time on my hands

Due to my knee issue, I’ve been advised not to run for the next 7-10 days.

pink floyd, time
Time Marker
Courtesy of wordlesstech.com

I’ve managed to catch up on all of my DVR’d Colbert Report shows and we are making a dent in the backlog of John Stewart’s The Daily Show as well. I even have more time to write blog posts.

Taper Time from Hell

This is the worse taper ever: totally unplanned and way too early. In addition to the agitation that comes with decreased physical activity, in the back of my mind I worry about my running future.

All runners confront the end of their running days at some point in time. All of us will get to a point where it hurts too much or takes too much physical effort to even jog.

This is probably just be a bump in the road for me, but it gives me pause to think about THE END. What will it be like when I can’t run anymore? Ever.

I’m a runner. It’s a big part of who I am. What would I do from now on if I could not run?

At 49 I feel like I have many more years of running in me.

The Male 40-50 bracket always has a good number of runners in it at most races. It is also a competitive bracket with many strong runners. It’s not unusual for the top 25% of men 45-50 to beat the bottom half of the men 40-45.

running numbers, time
Running Demographics

The statistics here are in 10 year chunks so the drop off looks dramatic.  If these were “by year” stats I think the slope would be relatively flat until age 45 and then drop off dramatically after age 50. From my personal observations, I think a lot of men, and women, run well into their late 40’s. These stats don’t show it but I think the dramatic drop off begins after age 50.

The decade between 55 and 65 cuts our number by more than half!

Achy, breakey, bite me!

I’ve had hip problems,muscle problems and tendon problems. A runner’s body always has an ache somewhere, it just moves around. None of those issues made me think about the end of the road the way this injury has. I was in PT for months with a sore hip and hanging up the shoes never crossed my mind.

I often see people running with various knee supports and braces and always hope I can get to 80 and avoid all of that. I still have that hope.

I’m still in the early phase of my recovery and I still have twinges. They worry me, but I keep telling my self that the healing process has just begun. I’m going to miss a race or two, but I will run again. I still have Boylston street in my sites.

Run well my friends!

Andy

© 2014 anagelin

A Higher level of Civility

As I drove into work this morning I noticed that my jaw was not clenched as it has been for the past week. There was actually space between my teeth.

I noticed that I had fewer of those  spontaneous deep breaths that seem to draw something out from deep inside.

I still feel like I have the flu, but I feel like it is starting to lift. We have buried our dead in Boston and most of the injured have left the hospital. A memorial service was held for Lu Lingzi at Boston University on Monday, but I do not know her family’s plans or customs.

The One Fund continues to grow and will be there to assist the injured with their recovery. Kenneth Feinberg who is a Massachusetts native and who administered The 911 Fund will administer this fund also. I feel confident that he will be fair and prudent with these funds. As he has said, this money will not make anyone whole, but it will help them in their recovery.

As I drove in through heavy traffic this morning I noticed a higher level of civility. People were letting people into traffic instead of blocking them needlessly. Pedestrians were waved across the street even when not in a walk way, even at green lights.

Drivers seemed more relaxed and willing to give someone a break. As everyone likes to say, Boston drivers can be aggressive, but this morning I saw a higher level of civility.

Be well my friends.

© anagelin 2013