In this post, I will discuss the health benefits of foam rolling. Using a foam roller can be a useful tool before and after a workout. The benefits of rolling will vary depending on the person, but most people I know swear by it.
- 1 Health benefits of foam rolling
- 2 Conclusion: Health benefits of foam rolling
You can find foam rollers everywhere these days. You can find them at your local gym and at sporting goods stores. Foam rollers are a simple and effective tool to use. There are many varieties of foam rollers to choose from, and most aren’t terribly expensive.
What is foam rolling?
Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release technique (SMR) used by a lot of people. It can help with tight muscles, soreness and may even increase your range of motion.
Fascia is the connective tissue that protects the muscles and can be affected by overuse, inactivity, or trauma. When you find tight spots or trigger points, SMR is the process of massaging those tight spots out.
Foam rolling can be a useful tool for people who sit a lot during the day, as well as people who are active physically.
Health benefits of foam rolling
Increase blood flow
Foam rolling helps to increase blood flow to the areas you are working on. Increased blood flow helps bring much-needed oxygen and nutrients, which in turn helps with recovery.
Tip: Suffering from Sciatica Pain?
If you’re considering a foam roller, we’ve compiled the best foam rollers for sciatica pain sufferers.
Reduce muscle soreness and pain
When you push your limits physically, like when you start a new workout program or increase the intensity, your muscles will likely become sore. This soreness you feel later on (24-72 hours later) is referred to as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Check out this study for more information on the effectiveness of foam rolling on DOMS.
When your muscles are stressed, they need time to repair so they can function correctly. Using a foam roller helps to release tense and tight muscles and reduce pain and soreness. A foam roller is similar to a deep tissue massage, helping to ease your tight muscles.
Increase range of motion
Range of motion is essential for so many things we do in life, bending over to tie your shoes, or pick up a child, to name a few. Does using a foam roller really improve your range of motion?
One study found that foam rolling along with static stretching, was useful for increased range of motion, compared to stretching or foam rolling alone. If you are looking for an increased range of motion, give some stretching along with using a foam roller. Foam rolling adds pressure and muscle stimulation and forces the soft tissue to lengthen over time.
Decrease the risk of injury
When your muscles are sore and weak, they will not be functioning at 100%. This can put your body at risk of injury. Using a foam roller helps to relax the muscles, break up trigger points and increase blood flow to the area.
All of these elements help to promote healing and decrease your risk of injury. Healthy muscles will operate as they are supposed to and give your body the chance to perform at its best.
Decrease recovery time
By giving your muscles a chance to heal more quickly, foam rolling can improve your recovery time, and this means that you can train more frequently. When you can train those muscle groups more often, you will be able to achieve the results you are after.
Roll before or after a workout?
I recommend both if you have time. Foam rolling even a few minutes before a workout will help to increase blood flow in your body and decrease tension in your muscles. Also, using a roller before an exercise routine will help to improve tissue elasticity and range of motion. All of this will help to protect you from injury.
Using a foam roller after a workout brings fresh new blood to your muscles to help speed up the recovery process. Be sure to make your recovery a priority in your workout routine.
How to use a foam roller
A lot of people can benefit from using a foam roller. During your foam rolling exercise, it’s essential to focus on core stability and try to keep your pelvis in a neutral position.
To start out, you will slowly roll over the targeted area until you find a sore or tender spot. Try to hold and relax on that spot when you find it for maybe 10 seconds for starters. As you progress, you can stay longer, perhaps up to 60 seconds.
As you get more comfortable with using a foam roller, you will be able to use it for more extended periods.
You may want to start up against a wall, like on your upper back, to get the hang of what foam rolling feels like. Then when you feel more comfortable, you can move to the floor.
You can roll out different parts of your body, including:
- Piriformis (deep in your butt)
- Upper back
- Inner thigh (adductors)
You may find other areas to roll as well, but these are some of the common areas.
Types of foam rollers
Foam rollers come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. Some are more portable than others and are great for traveling.
- Smooth rollers are great for beginners. These rollers are dense and have a flat surface (as the name suggests) and aren’t as aggressive as some other models.
- Textured (knobby) rollers are not for the faint of heart. These rollers have a much more aggressive surface and are meant to dig deep. These are great for people who are used to rolling a lot and need a deeper massage than a smooth roller.
- Vibrating foam rollers add a little extra to a traditional foam roller, and you can buy vibrating foam rollers with a smooth or textured surface. Vibration adds an element of pain relief and intensifies the rolling experience.
Conclusion: Health benefits of foam rolling
Whether you are new to using a foam roller or use one all the time, you can see there are many benefits. Reducing recovery time and improving range of motion are two of the top reasons I use a roller.
The great thing about foam rolling is this is something you can do yourself. You have a way to help your body recover quicker, and it doesn’t require a trip to the doctor.
Using a foam roller can be a great way to reduce muscle tension before you get started with your workout. Rolling after a workout is an effective way to help you feel less sore in the days after your workout.