Foam rolling is a Self Myofascial Release Technique that is common with athletes. It’s a fantastic way to give yourself a deep tissue massage, to release those knots in your overactive and tight muscles. It’s also used widely by athletes as it can improve recovery. Myofascial refers to the muscles, but also the soft connective tissues that surround the muscles and other body parts. Myofascial release works across all the soft tissue layers of the body, from just below the skin to those painfully deep knots.
Although foam rollers are mostly used by people who do extensive workouts, or by recommendation by chiropractors, physiotherapists and personal trainers, anyone can and should use them. I encourage everyone of my clients, whether an athlete, mother, uber driver, accountant or investment banker, to use foam rollers for one simple reason: To help loosen up the body’s muscles and decrease tension accumulated by our daily postural habits. (Yes, we all have tension!)
Foam rollers work by applying pressure on specific trigger points of a muscle with the foam roller and maintainingthat pressure for 30-60 seconds. There are many reasons why everyone should use and will benefit from using a foam roller. You can read all about the benefits, and all the how-to's for self massage, stretching and even strengthening in my upcoming ebook in my upcoming ebook “On a Roll- Feeling Great and Getting in Shape” launching soon. For now here’s five great reasons to start rolling today:
1. Increase joint mobility, range of motion and peak performance
Using a foam roller increases joint flexibility and joint range of motion, especially when used before and after exercising. Joint mobility, flexibility and range of motion is essential for top performance. It greatly improves muscle power, speed and adaptability.
For those who are inactive or have a desk-bound office jobs (desk warriors stuck at their desk for more than two hours a day), prolonged sitting predispose the fibres of the fascia to form in scattered patterns which createsrestrictions, stiffness, poor joint mobility (can’t move easily) and eventually pain. Using a foam roller will help break up the scattered fascia fibres and scar tissue that surround the muscles and joints, which promotes normal function and motion and also greater tissue extensibility. It also reduces the muscle stress and static loading that is associated with sitting behind screens all day long.
2. Improves circulation, boosting your body's overall performance and health
When you use a foam roller, you increase the blood circulation, which carries life-enriching oxygen and nutrients through the body. Myofascial release leads to an improved flow of blood to the constricted areas, resulting in increased oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. Furthermore, it facilitates the removal of exercise by-products like carbon dioxide and lactic acid. More oxygen, less wastes = more power and adaptability (and less fatigue or cramps). Great circulation is also essential for all organs of the body, including the brain and heart. When you combine rolling with strengthening and endurance training, one can excel further to reach their best-performance levels.
3. Improves recovery, Reduces injuries and soreness
After a heavy workout, the muscles become painful and stiff, especially 24-48 hours later. Using a foam roller decreases the recovery time (and muscle soreness time) and facilitate the healing process after a workout. This happens because the deep tissue massage works by releasing the adhesions and scar tissues caused by the intense workout. It is also beneficial to use a foam roller before exercising because it loosens up the muscles, and improves blood flow to the muscles, so your muscles are primed and ready to go. Pre-workout rolling may also reduce the risk of muscle strain and injury during the exercise. Note that rolling is not a substitute for a proper stretch, warm up or cool down.
4. Encourages a stronger body with a healthy connective tissues
Fascia, a very abundant and important connective tissue in our body, is regularly made and laid down. If it isn’t laid properly (ie, not lying in correct fascial planes and directions) it doesn’t move and work like it’s supposed to. This leads to poor pattern formation, adhesions and restrictions which results in improper movement patterns, abnormal compensatory patterns, injury, pain and poor performance. Using a foam roller ensures that the fascia develops well and it aligns itself properly within and around the muscles. This will save you from lots of achy days, and money spent on massages (that usually make you feel great for just 60 minutes - sorry to all my massage therapist friends!).
5. Reduces cellulite
The C-word! Cellulite! These dimples on the skin, are thought to be caused by a change in the connective tissue structure, as well as accumulation of toxic/wastes and poor circulation. Cellulite mainly affects women, (though men certainly aren’t immune!) especially in the pelvis, abdomen, and thighs. Since foam rolling improves both circulation, delivering nutrients, removing wastes and assists in development of healthy fascia, it’s thought that when added to a great exercise and food plan, foam rolling may help prevent cellulite formation and even reduce existing cellulite.
There are many more benefits, including solving aches and pains or using rollers for mobility, stretching, strengthening and balance exercises. The best part is foam rolling doesn't take long! Just a few minutes a day can help you feel great, and ready take on the world. For more information, and to reserve your copy of the upcoming foam roller book, feel free to leave a message or connect with me on social media.