Let's Roll: The Total Body Benefits of Using a Foam Roller
Foam rolling is simple and easy, but people put it off as must one more thing to accomplish in their already intense workout. Yet, while the process seems tedious or even pointless, it works wonders for body and mind!
What you are actually doing when you use a foam roller is called self-myofascial release. This is a fancy term for a kind of self-massage that helps to release muscle tightness or trigger points. By applying pressure to specific points on your body you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal functioning.
Five convincing reasons to foam roll everyday
1. Foam rolling relieves sore muscles
For people who work out regularly, using a foam roller should be a non-negotiable part of your workout routine, maximizing your potential to activate key muscle groups while you exercise. When used as a pre-workout warm up tool, the foam roller primes major muscle groups, helping the body to fire muscles correctly. The muscles are thus enabled to get more oxygen and work more efficiently.
Foam rolling is also a great recovery tool, and is useful for relief from post-workout, or between workout, muscle soreness. By foam rolling after you exercise, you can significantly reduce post-workout muscle discomfort. Foam rolling works by massaging away fascia buildup in your muscles, which often leads to sore muscles. And best of all, when you reduce your pain, you are less likely to skip your next workout!
2. Foam rolling prevents injury
When you exercise, your muscles can become tight and and sore from the continual “stress” of working out. When you regularly roll out your muscles as part of your fitness regime, the deep compression helps to relax tight muscles, a little like you’re tenderizing your own muscles. If your muscles are not taken care of properly you can experience loss of flexibility, adhesions, and painful movement.
Foam rolling also helps normal blood flow to return and the restoration of healthy tissue. The body naturally wants to be healthy and strong, but sometimes an extra boost is needed for optimal muscle and tissue health.
3. Foam rolling improves your range of motion
When you use a foam roller, tension is released in the muscles, allowing the body to move more freely. Pressure is subsequently taken off the joints, allowing for more dynamic movement during physical activity. Foam rolling also enhances flexibility, which helps to avoid injury, improve athletic performance and keeps you strong as you age.
4. Foam rolling eases stress
Using a foam roller is an amazing way to proactively release stress out of the body, allowing you to access hard to reach the areas where we carry stress, like the hips, back and shoulders. Rolling away the knots can help you decompress after a tough day, rather like a massage. When you release your knots and sore spots, the tension that was built up in your connective tissue is released, leaving you feeling relieved of stress.
5. Foam rolling saves you money
While a once or twice a week massage would be pricey, daily foam rolling is not! Thankfully, foam rollers achieve the same physical benefit as massage for a much more affordable price. Available at any good sports store, you can purchase your own foam roller, giving you hours of massage without breaking the bank!
Getting started rolling
To avoid injuries, stay flexible and relieve stress, aim to roll every day for 5 to 20 minutes, but even a few times a week will make a big difference!
Foam rollers can be used on any part of the body, and is especially effective for you calf muscles, quads, hamstrings and glutes., but no matter which are you’re focused on, your goal is to roll back and forth for 30 seconds to a minute for each muscle group. When you find a sore spot (you’ll know it), make an effort to roll on that spot for 15 seconds ore more in order for the tissues to have time to release.
If you are a novice roller, you might find the process pretty painful - even excruciating - when you first start out. Stick with it and the pain will ease up in no time!