Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release technique used by physical therapists and athletes to maximize muscle recovery. Literally made up of a roll of foam, foam rollers are cheaper and more convenient to undergo than deep tissue massages. Foam rolling has become increasingly popular as more studies reveal the many benefits to be gained from the muscle recovery technique.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of foam rolling.
- Loosens up the muscles – Skipping any kind of stretching technique – including foam rolling – before a workout will likely result in your muscles feeling tight and inhibited. This prevents you from being able to perform your workouts effectively and penetrate target muscles. Foam rolling is an excellent way to relax your muscles before a workout, ensuring a more effective and efficient exercise. A study conducted by the National Strength & Conditioning Association found that athletes who foam rolled prior to exercise felt significantly less fatigued than a group who did not foam roll.
- Prevents injury – The feeling of loosening tight and fatigued muscles through a foam roller is similar to a deep tissue massage because your own body weight is pressed against the roll, ensuring a substantial amount of pressure is being enacted upon the muscle. Massage helps avoid injury during exercise and is much cheaper than the cost to repair.
- Limits soreness – Though not a substitute for stretching, warming up or cooling down, foam rolling limits soreness by increasing flexibility and increasing the blood flow. A study conducted in January 2015 by the National Athletic Trainer’s Association found that foam rolling was substantially effective in reducing muscle fatigue and soreness.
- Cheaper than going to a massage therapist – Foam rolling is similar to going to a massage therapist to get a deep tissue massage without the price tag. A quick online search will yield foam roller prices as low as $8!
- Accelerates lactic acid return to the body – During prolonged and strenuous exercise, the body builds up what’s called lactic acid. Lactic acid buildup is often associated with cramps and the beginning stages of fatigue, especially after strenuous exercise. Though the body producing lactic acid is a medium between aerobic and anaerobic energy consumption and can absorb lactic acid on its own, foam rolling can help accelerate the body’s breakdown of lactic acid post-workout.
- More efficient exchange of nutrients – Through increased blood circulation caused by foam rolling, nutrients and waste products move more efficiently at a cellular level, improving overall cellular function.
- Loosen the fascia within your body – Fascia is a band of connective tissue investing and connecting internal organs together. Foam rolling not only helps stretch muscles, it also digs down into those hard to reach areas breaking up scar tissue. This soothes the fascia strengthening those muscles.
- Increases flexibility – When your muscles are loosened due to foam rolling it increases their elasticity. In fact, a 2014 study found that, among other physical benefits, foam rolling increased an athlete’s range of motion. The more flexible your muscles are the more power they will be able to produce. Combined with proper stretching, and training you can reach new levels of performance.
- Reduces cellulite – Cellulite is a common condition that causes dimples in the skin in the abdomen, pelvis and lower limb region and is known to be frequently found in women. Research indicates that one cause of cellulite are shifts in connective tissue structure. Foam rolling helps stretch connective tissues and improve circulation. It does this by breaking up interwoven fat fibers. This process helps prevent the formation of cellulite and reduction of existing cellulite with the combination of diet and proper exercise.
- Increases blood circulation – Most massages are good for improving circulation through the arteries, veins and capillary n your body. When you applying pressure as you would while foam rolling, the blood is pushed through various avenues of the body. Areas with good blood circulations receive more oxygen creating a rejuvenating effect. Another study conducted by the National Athletic Trainer’s Association found that arterial stiffness decreased and vascular endothelial function increased after using a foam roller.
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