Ah the mysterious foam roller: never before has anything so harmless-looking (it’s foam, right?) delivered so much sweet, satisfying pain. These little cylinders of rolling power have so many benefits, it’s insane – from providing a much-needed massage when we need it, boosting recovery, and more. And with such an affordable price tag, it seems like we all should be getting on the foam-rolling bandwagon.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the benefits of foam rolling, and why you need to be getting on this new trend, like now.
Easing Muscle Pain
When it comes to post-workout care, foam rollers pretty much top the list – both for easing sore muscles and reducing inflammation. Foam rollers do this by a process called myofascial release, or applying low-intensity forces to soft tissue, which squeezes out blood from inflamed areas and allows fresh new blood (with replenished oxygen and glycogen reserves) to be brought to the area. The effect that myofascial release has after a workout is twofold: it decreases delayed-onset muscle soreness, as well as increases performance in future workouts.
Increasing Range of Motion
Foam rolling has also been shown to improve flexibility and range of motion by helping release tight tendons and ligaments (fascia) that cause pain and stiffness. Similar to how physical therapists release muscles through massage, foam rollers can have the same effect, from the comfort of your home.
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Decreasing Risk of Injury
As we know, the self-massaging routine you’ll get from using a foam roller increases your body’s blood circulation. What this also does is to help you loosen up your muscles and joints, straightening out tangled muscle fibers, and increase your body’s overall coordination – basically keeping your movements in tip-top shape.
Relieving Sciatica Pain
As any pregnant woman will tell you, sciatica is not fun (not even a little bit). The intense, searing pains that shoot down the leg from the lower back can be annoying, wrenching, and even more than a little debilitating. The good news is that foam rollers are a great tool to release the inflammation in the hip and booty area, relieving the tension that causes those pesky symptoms.
Most people who get into foam rolling find a supremely positive benefit in their overall moods. Similar to the effect of a great workout or full-body massage, foam rollers can help release toxins from your body, flushing out our systems and leaving us nice and relaxed. Just be sure to drink plenty of water after you roll to replenish your system with the good stuff.
We hope all this information has inspired you to run down to your local sporting goods’ store (or just crack open your laptop) and pick up a foam roller of your own. Need some help getting started? We’ve got you there too! Check out this 20-Minute Upper Body and Core Foam Rolling Class, or this Pre/Post Workout Lower Body Foam Rolling Session. These classes will help you kick off your foam rolling journey on the right foot (or shall we say, the right cheek?).
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