It might feel like you have done enough for your body by getting out and exercising, but your body needs a little bit of help to recover well and to stay injury free. Research is now showing that foam rolling helps to increase circulation so the connective tissue and muscle are getting more oxygen and water than if you just stretched.
So grab that foam roller and you can relax on your foam roller but help yourself at the same time.
Static stretching post run or work-out is still great as it helps to lengthen muscle fibres and improve flexibility, whereas foam rolling does all this but also targets and relieves tension in the myofascial layers of your body.
I am going to give you a few tips on the best ways to foam roll:
- Relax: As painful as foam roller can be, it will be a lot nicer for you to relax while completing this. Try and remember to breath and not tense up your muscles.
- Control: We want to ensure we are still in control and not rolling into positions that could cause injuries.
- Pay attention: Think about if you are causing pain or if you are causing tenderness that is diminishing as you continue to foam roll. As sore as it might be to foam roll initially, we don’t want to cause any aggravations to the body. It may be painful if you are rolling over an area you shouldn’t be, so remember not to roll directly over a bone or joint.
- Slow it down: you want slow, purposeful motions. The key is to focus on these tender areas because they need the most attention and desperately need oxygen, water, and nutrients.
- Add directions/ movement: It’s not just up-and-down.. “If you look at the angle of how the muscle and fascia attach, it’s not straight up and down—some fascial attachments run from front to back or in spirals,” says Stolz. “The key is to not only slow down the foam rolling, but also add side-to-side movements, cross-friction (rubbing the spot being rolled side to side on the roller) and flexing and extending the joint being rolled.
- Make it a routine: Try and incorporate foam rolling into your daily routine, either at night while your watching television or straight after you get home after you have been exercising.
Good luck and keep that foam roller out so it is a reminder to get rolling.