Exercise regularly? Got a marathon or half marathon race coming up? Keen cyclist or gym goer? If you have not been using a foam roller as part of your daily cool down/recovery routine your really are missing out.
Not just for the elite athletes, foam rolling aka Self-myofascial release, is a form of self-message to release tight muscles or trigger points (specific "knots" that form in muscles) as you put targeted pressure on your fascia. The fascia is a fibrous layer of connective tissue that surrounds all of the muscles in your body. If this layer becomes sore and restricted post exercise, muscles will also become restricted in their movement and this is not conducive to great performance and may ultimately lead to injury. This is where foam rolling can help.
Once just popular among elite athletes due to the immediate and strong impact rolling has on their performance and overall recovery, many people have now discovered the fantastic benefits including:
- Improved Circulation
- Injury Prevention
- Enhanced Recover
- Reduced exercise related soreness
A foam roller will set you back between (£8-£35) depending on quality so a relatively inexpensive piece of kit to have at home. If you regularly suffer soreness after exercising, or exercise and want to reduce the chances of injury it is a must buy!!
Top tips on using a foam roller:
- Keep it slow (Roll over each area slowly and pause for 20 seconds on tight spots to relax the muscle and release any tension).
- Keep breathing as this helps facilitate the muscles to relax too.
- Avoid rolling the IT band, instead focus on the glutes for the stability they offer.
For further info and some great foam rolling exercises (especially runners) see this great Guardian article: