I know, I know. It’s impossible to keep up with all the things!
As soon as you figure one out, there’s a new one. Exercise is the same way. Lots of fads, lots of “everything old is new again.”
Here’s one that I’ve been learning about that I wanted to share. It’s called “foam rolling.” I see your nose scrunching up skeptically. . . Read on.
Over the past few years, foam rolling has grown steadily in popularity, and nowadays, gyms all over the world have foam rollers for their members to use. Unlike many fitness products such as TRX cables, etc. the popularity of foam rollers grew by word-of-mouth instead of heavy advertising or technical innovations. This shows just how effective it is.
What is a foam roller?
The foam roller is a simple cylindrical item that is used to roll over your body. It can be long, short, hollow or hard. Usually constructed out of ethylene vinyl acetate, it is hard despite being classified as a foam product.
There are several different types of foam rollers that vary in density and construction. Some rollers are smooth, and some models such as rumble rollers have pronounced peaks to target more specific areas.
You’ll use the foam roller by lying on top of it in a position where you can roll forward and backward to stretch and treat the affected area.
What is fascia?
Fascia is the connective tissue all over your body. When it gets stiff due to scarring or inflammation, your movements will be restricted. Over time you may not even notice it, but different parts of your body will be working harder to compensate for the restricted movements.
This will give rise to aches and pains, and you’ll not feel optimal. Foam rollers are an excellent tool to help massage and ease the tight fascia. After several repeated sessions of foam rolling, your fascia will be more flexible and fluid. Your body will feel better and you’ll move better too.
What other benefits can foam rolling give me?
Besides softening your fascia, foam rolling will ease delayed onset muscle soreness. When you engage in weight training, there will be microtears in your muscles. This will usually cause your muscles to ache about 24 hours after the workout is over. Foam rolling acts like a ‘sports massage’ that will break up the scar tissue and improve blood circulation to the area.
Foam rolling also eases tension in parts of your body that are prone to getting tense. The upper back is one such area because so many people are in a kyphotic position from being hunched over their computers for hours.
The hamstrings, calves, etc. can get tense too, and you’ll only realize how good it feels when you use the foam roller on these areas. You would do well to research all the different moves that you can do so that you can get the best out of the foam rollers.
Some of the best moves for the entire body are:
- Iliotibial Band Roll
- Hamstrings Roll
- Latissimus Dorsi Roll
- Glutes Roll
- Foam Roller Upper Back
- Groin Roll
- Quadriceps Roll
When using a foam roller to massage your body, it’s important to be consistent. Even 10 to 15 minutes a day for two weeks will yield benefits. What really matters is that you do it daily. This is a holistic method of healing and requires time to work.
You should shop around and look for a foam roller that’s just right for you. Use it daily and your body will thank you for it in time to come.