Working out throughout the week can tighten your muscles tremendously, making you sore and uncomfortable. Incorporating stretching into your weekly routine helps to aid in recovery for your muscles. There are countless types of stretching techniques you can use such as yoga, but one that is often overlooked is the foam roller. Foam rollers have become increasingly popular as you can use them at home and take them with you on the go.
Here are some of the benefits of foam rolling that you may not have known:
1. Daily Health of Fascia
Fascia is a sheet of connective tissue in our bodies—primarily made up of collagen—beneath the skin. Fascia attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs. Fascia is always being created and laid down throughout our bodies. It is important for these fibers to form in a correct pattern, but the everyday stress we put on our bodies can interfere with how fascia is laid down. Foam rolling will help scar tissue to break up within the muscle and fascia, allowing normal function and motion.
2. Tissue Mobility after Injuries
After suffering an injury, tissue mobility is extremely important to maintain as new layers of fascia are laid down for scar tissue. You will be at higher risk of future injury if your tissue is not broken up, assembled, and properly aligned. Even if you do not feel pain regularly, foam rolling can act as a preventative for possible future injury.
3. Increase Blood Flow
When foam rolling you increase your blood flow throughout your body, which increases your circulation. This plays a major role in decreasing your recovery time after workouts so you can train more frequently throughout the week and begin seeing faster results. With foam rolling, you begin creating a greater range of motion, which allows you to work your muscles more thoroughly during your exercise days.
4. Saves You Money
Massages can be very expensive, especially if you need to get them say, one once a week. At $100 an hour, a typical one-hour massage could run you $400 a month (which is $4,800 a year!). The foam roller is sometimes referred to as ‘the poor mans massage,’ but who doesn’t want to save money and achieve similar benefits, in the comfort of your own home.
There are some things to avoid when using a foam roller. When rolling, make sure you do not roll too fast. Your movements should be slow and concentrated because your muscles need time to adapt and manage the compression from your body weight. Secondly, do not spend too much time on the knots – this can sometimes hit a nerve or damage tissue. Thirdly, do not roll directly on the area that you feel pain. Try going indirect before direct – finding a sensitive spot is a sign that you should ease away from this area by a few inches.
Incorporate stretching weekly and begin seeing a difference in your overall health. You will become more flexible, be able to do various exercises you may have not been able to do previously, and prevent possible future injury.