Foam Rolling is well known as a technique called SMR (Self-Myofascial Release). Foam Rolling helps with inflammation, muscle tightness and soreness and to increase the joints range of motion. This is a perfect tool to add to your workout’s warm-up and cooldown routine and can be used by any person of age and level of fitness.
Fascia is a connective tissue that connects every part of the body to all the other parts that wrap around muscles and those that help hold the organs in place. When a problem in the fascia gets treated it helps to reduce pain, increase your range of motion and help maintain your muscles and nerves.
Fascia is not a stretching muscle. It is made from collagen fibres and it mainly responds to how we regularly use our bodies. This means when your job wants you to sit at a desk most of the time the fascia will grow in such a way that help holds that certain shape, so when we stand or stretch or walk, the adjusted shape of the fascia can make those movements difficult or even painful.
Luckily we can change that shape the fascia has adjusted to by lengthening it. We can do that by moving our bodies regularly and by using our bodies full range of motion which helps the fascia grow in the ways to facilitate those new movements. This means adding foam rolling as part of your workout routine can hold many benefits for helping to lengthen your fascias.
Benefits of Foam Rolling
Helps ease muscle pain:
By massaging the muscles you are increasing the blood flow, thus releasing oxygen to the tissues, that helps with the natural healing process.
It is known for foam rolling to help with muscle pain and to reduce inflammation. A small study was done where eight active male participants concluded that foam rolling after an exercise may help persons reduce the risk of muscle soreness after working out.
Those who participated has found that they felt a decrease in muscle soreness when they used a foam roller after their workouts in addition to the participants who did not use a foam roller. They also noted that their physical performance when working out was seemingly better than those who did not use the foam roller.
Range of motion increased:
Your range of motion is important when it comes to flexibility and performance. When a light, gentle pressure is applied to a muscle using a foam roller, it helps the connective tissues to loosen up. Your muscles and joints are becoming less and less restrained and you get the feeling of moving around more freely.
When you foam roll, incorporate it with your stretching routine whether it is before doing a physical activity or after doing physical activity. This will help lengthen your muscles and helps with being more flexible. So what this basically means, it is helping you to exercise more effectively.
Helps relieve back pain:
Foam rolling may be effective to help ease pain in the body but it can possibly help ease the pain in your back as well. When using the foam roller on your back it is important to use it carefully because you don’t want to injure your back any further.
If you want to use a foam roller on your back, place it vertically in line with your spine, and roll slowly from side to side. Try not to do it horizontally for you will try to arch your back and strain it even more. If the foam roller is too uncomfortable try using a massage ball to help work out the knots in your back.
Helps you to relax:
We all know that feeling when you go to the spa and the person massaging you hit all the right spots. That is exactly what the foam roller does. Think of it as a personal muscle massage at home.
It gives you that temporary relief in muscles and helps ease your muscles after a hard day at the gym or after a long cardio session. It is important to massage the muscles correctly otherwise you will do only more harm than good and risk the potential of injuring your muscle more than helping your muscle reduce the chance of soreness.
More studies needs to be done to actually see if foam rolling helps reduce stress, but if you find foam rolling relaxing on you and your muscles there is no harm in adding it to your daily or weekly routine.
Different types of Rollers
- Smooth Rollers: These rollers are used by persons who are new to foam rolling. They are considered to be less painful of all rollers. Made out of dense foam and can be rather soft, making it easier to relax when self-massaging.
- Textured Rollers: Used by more advanced foam rollers. These rollers have ridges, treads or sometimes balls. These type of rollers are perfect for working out tight spots and knots, these rollers are to be used slow and gentle to not put you at risk of injuring your muscles.
- Massage Rollers: They are long, thin rollers made from plastic (sometimes out of foam or wood also). They are designed to give you more control over your massages and helps you massage delicate areas like your calves and the soles of your feet.
- Massage balls: They are small, round-shaped rollers that you use more promptly than a usual foam roller. These balls are used to target more confined area muscles like those between your shoulder blades etc.
Always remember if you don’t know whether to incorporate a foam roller into your daily routine or fitness routine consult with a Medical Professional or even your local Physiotherapist.
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