Whether you are an assiduous gym-goer, a once-a-month runner or recovering from an injury, you are going to have sore muscles at some point. You stretch post workout, and do your exercises but sometimes it doesn’t ease the pain. A foam roller is an inexpensive and small miracle worker that helps loosen tight muscles that stretching alone just doesn’t seem to accomplish. Some of you might be thinking, “but they are so much work, its almost not worth it”. And yes, you might be right. But there are so many benefits that make it oh so worth it, trust me.
1. Increases your blood flow
The goal to foam rolling is to allow enough pressure that you feel it stretching and massaging your muscles. When the pressure is added, it helps to push blood through your veins, allowing for better circulation. Better circulation means lower blood pressure, which we all know is important especially when you live in New York City, a high intensity city where everyone is in a rush to get somewhere.
2. Allows for better movement and less restriction in your muscles
After a workout, foam rolling your overworked and tired muscles helps prevent cramps and tightness when you wake up in the morning. It helps to loosen and stretch your muscles. If you included it in your post workout stretching routine, you’ll be sure to see improvement. The next day, you’ll be able to take on those stairs without muttering “ow” at every step.
3. Self Massage
Does this need much explanation? When does a massage ever sound like a bad idea? If you find a specific spot that is especially sore, maybe in your back, hamstrings, or calves, you can spend extra time placing pressure on the painful area. It helps to relax the muscle and lead to a pain free day!
4. And a cure for those day-to-day aches and sores
Just the other day, I was stretched out, exhausted, on the couch after what was 24 hours of sitting in a car, waiting in an airport after 3 separate delays, and sitting on a plane in extreme discomfort due to all the… you guessed it, sitting. My muscles were tense and would randomly spasm, just due to the fact that I hadn’t used them very much in the last 24 hours. So I reluctantly got up, and pulled out the foam roller, something growing up in a PT family taught me, and began rolling out my thigh muscles. Within seconds, I felt immensely better. So if you travel for a living, or are just sitting at your desk for 8 hours a day, you might want to try a foam roller to cure those hip to leg aches.
The great thing about these wonderful pain-relieving rollers is that many places carry them in different widths, lengths, and densities. Some are softer and some really dig into those knots. You are able to find your own perfect pressure. Luckily for you and the sake of your muscles, they are sold at James Fowler Physical Therapy!
See below for two videos to show you how to properly roll out your muscles, if you never have before.
Foam rolling your leg:
Foam rolling your lower back: