What are the benefits to foam rolling?

I recently read an article from Shape that said “foam rolling is a lot like flossing, even though you know you should do it regularly, you probably only actually do it when you notice an issue.”  I had to chuckle alittle bit after reading that because it really is true!  I’m sure we are all guilty of neglecting our foam roll until we start to feel overly stiff, sore, or tense.  But for all of those that have maybe heard of foam rolling but don’t know much about it, I wanted to talk alittle about what the benefits are to using one.

  1.  Increase the mobility of the muscles.  By using a foam roller, it helps to lengthen the muscles which ultimately allows for better movement.  Sometimes this can be great prior to a workout in order to help “loosen up” or after a long work day where your muscles might be tight from sitting too long.
  2. Improve the movement of fascia.  Fascia is connective tissue that sits between your skin and the muscle.  It helps the two glide past one another and contributes to mobility.  Often times, the fascia can get tight, bound up into painful knots, or get stuck.  Using a foam roller helps alleviate those issues to get it back to how it was.  This will allow for better movement to return between muscle and skin.
  3. Posture.  My absolute favorite thing to do on a foam roller is use it to stretch the chest muscles.  As many people do, I hold my stress in my shoulders and find myself starting to tighten up during stressful times.  Lying on the foam roller is a nice easy stretch to loosens those tight muscles and helps for better posture.  With so many people working at a computer during the day or perhaps spending a lot of time looking down at their phones, these muscles tighten up.  Try it out at home and see what you think.

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    Foam roll chest stretch for improved posture

  4. Decrease muscle soreness.  If your muscles are especially sore after a hard workout or game, there tends to be lactic acid buildup in the muscles.  Lactic acid is a byproduct that is formed when the muscles are working hard and sometimes there is too much for the body to excrete at a time.  This contributes to muscle soreness and using the foam roller to help get rid of the lactic acid will ultimately help decrease soreness.  Sidenote – I know this is a hot topic for an area of controversy so for this post, we will just keep it simple and not get into the specifics on lactic acid.

If you are in the Milwaukee area and want to learn more about foam rolling, sign up for our foam rolling workshop on Wednesday, May 11 (also national #FoamRollingDay) by calling us at (414) 331-2323 or emailing us at Brenda@Revitalize-PT.com

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