The secret weapon to improve circulation, unknot and lengthen muscles, speed up recovery, and improve flexibility? That strange, solid tube you see laying about the gym that looks like a rolled up yoga mat. The humble foam roller has long been an inexpensive staple of gyms and physical therapist offices around the country. But now everyone is catching on to its magical powers.
Photo courtesy of LiveStrong.
Foam rollers move and gently manipulate your fascia, a web-like structure that enclose and stabilize your muscles. Think of fascia like a net that both cradles your muscles and transports valuable nutrients to them. When your fascia is pliable, you have faster recovery, less muscle tension and a greater overall physical sensation of relaxation throughout your body. Stretching, hydration, and massage are all great ways to keep your fascia elastic. While nothing beats a good massage, foam rolling is an easy way to incorporate the benefits of massage into your life daily. Plus, after a hard workout it’s the perfect hurt-so-good feeling.
If you are new to foam rolling, go slow and take some time exploring where you are holding tension in your body. Rolling both before and after your workouts is best, but if you only have time for one, roll after to help muscles recover faster.
We want to hear from you! What’s your fitness “secret weapon”? Have you tried foam rolling? How has it changed your workout?
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