Foam Rollers are all the rage – we see them in different colors and sizes at the gym and they are even available in travel sizes to take them on-the-go. So what’s the hype with roam rolling?
Foam rolling is an important piece of the health and wellness “puzzle” to integrate into your daily routine. Spending 20 minutes at least three days a week on the foam roller helps relieve stress, increase flexibility, reduce soreness and prevent injuries.
But how? Foam rolling does a few important things for our bodies: doing it pre-workout actually warms up our muscles via the friction of rolling to get our body ready for exercising, post-workout it helps increase blood flow to muscles for a speedier recovery time and lastly, overall it helps release the fascia (or casing) that surrounds every muscle, bone and fiber in the human body.
Not sure where to start? Here are three great areas where a lot of us experience tightness that can be relieved with the foam roller:
Thoracic (middle back): This is important as many people suffer from back pain. The foam roller can provide immediate relief by massaging the connective tissue in the back and improving circulation of the muscles. The increase of blood flow and the pressure from the foam roller helps to release the tight muscles and ease pain.
Iliotibial Band (outer thigh): This move targets the long bank of muscles on the outer thigh which can create a lot of tightness contributing to back and knee pain. It decreases the amount of stress put on the hips and knees and increases mobility.
Quadriceps (thighs): Most of us are quadricep dominant which leads to tightening of this large set of muscles. This dominance can cause kyphotic posture and tight hip flexors. Rolling the quads can prevent stress on the knees and tightness in the hips helping to better your posture.
It’s important to not speed through your 20 minutes of foam rolling time. You should spend a couple of minutes on each muscle group focusing mostly on the tighter, more tender areas. Stay still on the tight areas to give the roller a chance to dig into these knots and break them up rather than just rolling back and forth. And make sure you’re breathing and not holding your breath.
Remember this shouldn’t be painful – be careful you aren’t rolling TOO hard or trying to relieve an injury. If your body is uncomfortable and telling you to stop – it’s for good reason!
Lastly, enjoy this 20 minutes of “me” time as a self-care treat, and a chance to tune into your body and how it’s feeling.
Paula Lester is a Pilates/Group Fitness instructor and manager of the Pilates Studio at Privé-Swiss Fitness, an award-winning, upscale, boutique fitness studio, located at 1587 Boston Post Road, Westbrook and 757 Boston Post Road, Madison; phone: 860-391-8735; website: www.priveswissfitness.com.