Maybe you've seen those weird foam logs rolling around gym lately. Those little boogers happen to be MY BEST FRIEND. (Besides my actual friends...)
Maybe you've wondered before what the big deal is about foam rollers? Or tried them and they REALLY hurt! Yeah, sometimes they hurt, but once you start using them regularly, you'll never turn back. I really don't think I would ever be able to run without pain if I didn't have my trusty live-in massage therapist (er...foam roller). Stretching is important and great for injury prevention and flexibility, but foam rollers take it to the next level.
So what's it all about? Here's a little science-geek info for you.
Your muscles and organs are wrapped up with a thin layer of FASCIA. It's kind of like a net. When you're sedentary, or do a lot of repetitive movements, or get injured, the fascia gets kind of stiff and can build up like scar tissue.This can cause tightness, soreness, and the feeling of "knots" in your muscles. MYOFASCIAL RELEASE is what loosens up the fascia and decreases pain and soreness. Foam rolling (like some deep tissue massage) is a form of myofascial release.
Not only can it help "un-knot" your muscles, foam rolling also helps blood flow properly throughout your body, can reduce the feeling of fatigue during exercise and can improve range of motion. It also PREVENTS those knots from forming when you use it regularly. Booyah! Sounds like a winner to me. You can get all of these benefits from a great massage as well, but I sure can't afford massages all of the time, and the foam roller is available at my beckon call. I use it for a few minutes before and after each run, and most evenings you will find me on the floor with my foam rolling friend. I think I should name him. Any ideas?
OK - so all of this sounds good - let's do it! If you don't have access to foam rollers at a gym, they are pretty easy to find. Plus, even if you do have them at your gym, I recommend getting one for home. It won't be covered with Joe-Muscle's sweat, and you can use it while you watch TV. Perfect. Target, Walmart and any sporting goods store has them, or they are available online. Some are really long. These are nice, but really not necessary. I have a 12 inch one and it works just fine for both me and my 6'3" husband.
You can "foam roll" just about anything - when you purchase one it will probably come with some suggestions, and there are some good resources online, but here I'll demonstrate a few basic ones: hamstring, quad, IT band and calf. I also love just rolling my back on it. I feel like it gives me an extra inch, and I sure could use as much height help as I can get!
Spend 30 seconds or so in each area, and do what feels good with your body. If you feel a spot that is tighter or "catches" a little bit, spend a little bit more time focusing right there.
Once you get into the habit of using a foam roller, you will never turn back. You might even go into withdrawals without it. My mom brought one in her suitcase to Hawaii on vacation once...
what about you?
Have you ever used foam roller?
For the foam roller committed - where's the weirdest place you've used yours?
It's great to see you! I'm Alyssa and I blog about all the things I've found "essential" in my life as a fit mama and football coach's wife. You'll find all kinds of fun stuff here like workouts, oily info, football stories and more!
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I am not a licensed medical professional. All views expressed on this website are based on my own personal research and experiences. Please consult your doctor with any medical issues before beginning a training program.
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