3 Reasons Why You Should Use a Foam Roller
Don’t have the money for a massage therapist to knead away those aches and pains? No worries—foam rollers are here to save the day. Learn all about these underappreciated muscle savers.
If you’ve just started working out again after a period of inactivity, you’re probably sore at this very moment. While it’s vital to stretch, stretching doesn’t break up scar tissue or always relieve tight muscles. That’s where foam rolling comes in. A foam roller has a number of benefits:
1. It can relieve soreness
Used right after an intense workout, a foam roller helps relieve muscle soreness. According to a study from Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, “…was beneficial in attenuating muscle soreness while improving vertical jump height, muscle activation, and passive and dynamic ROM in comparison with control.”
Another study found that, “Foam rolling substantially improved quadriceps muscle tenderness by a moderate to large amount in the days after fatigue.” Improving that soreness quickly also makes you more likely to exercise again sooner than if you hadn’t used a foam roller.
2. It improves your range of motion
According to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, “…studies have shown that myofascial release can improve the flexibility of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia by releasing tension in tight muscles or fascia while increasing blood flow and circulation to the soft tissues, which in turn improve flexibility and range of motion.” That improved flexibility and range of motion lessens the likelihood of injury and makes you a better athlete.
3. It boosts blood circulation
Poor blood circulation leads to problems like muscle cramping, tingling, and numbness. By using a foam roller as part of your cool down or warm up, you may actually shorten your recovery period.
Related: Why I Love Strength Training
Concerned about pain? You may experience discomfort while foam rolling, depending on how sore your muscles are. However, don’t rely on the “no pain, no gain” approach to foam rolling: it doesn’t have to hurt to be effective.There are a few different brands and types of foam rollers to choose from. You could use a roller ball that can get into more areas of your back than a typical foam roller would be able to, but if you’re new to foam rolling, you can easily start with a basic high-density foam roller.
If you’d prefer to try one out in person, hit up your local athletic store. When you’ve found one you like, be sure to watch a few videos to teach you how to foam roller correctly. That’s all there is to it! You’re just a few rolls away from faster recovery, greater flexibility, and better blood circulation.
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