Do you enjoy an invigorating sport massage yet can’t seem to find the time to visit your massage therapist as much as you would like? A foam roller, which looks like a firm log, can give you similar benefits by reducing and eliminating muscle knots, increase blood flow to the affected areas as well as boost athletic performance. But it’s not for athletes only. Foam rollers are also very popular with yoga and Pilates exercises since they lengthen skeletal muscle and increase flexibility in certain poses and activity.
So what exactly is a foam roller and why is it so effective?
A foam roller is a soft tissue therapy often recommended by physical therapists to treat sore or compromised muscles. As we grow older, our joints often lose connective tissue and elasticity making some exercises more difficult. By working the same way as a massage, a good foam roller breaks up the fibrous tissue that has accumulated to increase blood circulation while reducing soreness and pain. People that use foam rollers regularly report that they have less pain and muscle tension.
In order to assist with muscle soreness after a good workout, a foam roller can be used to roll out hips, legs and back with some simple exercises.
Back Roll: Simply lie on your back on the foam roller. Press your back into the roller and gently roll back and forth with your feet. Roll over certain areas that need extra attention.
Neck Roll: Want to relieve tension and stress in your neck? Lie on your back with the foam roller under your neck while allowing your head to rest on the top of the roller. You should feel gentle pressure on your neck. Hold for up to 60 seconds.
Hamstring Stretch: Place your feet on the top of the roller and gently roll back and forth.
Feet Rehab: If you have just returned from a vigorous run, or you have been on your feet all day, stand with your foam roller under one foot. Apply gentle pressure to the arch by leaning forward and rolling your foot back and forth.
A foam roller is an inexpensive, yet effective tool to enhance your exercise program while preventing and treating some of the more common injuries in athletes. There are many more exercises available online, and definitely worth the few minutes it takes to check them out.