Have you ever gone to the gym and seen a cylinder foam lying around? That is called a foam roller and using it promises surprising health benefits.
A foam roller is easy to use since it does not require any other equipment for it to function, all you need to do is to grab it and do stretching activities with it.
Several foam rolling health benefits include relaxation of the muscles, improved flexibility of muscles and fascia, reduced pain in the joints as well as soreness, improves tissue recovery, corrects muscle imbalance, and so much more.
Want to know more health benefits of foam rolling? We have got you covered. This article will show you exactly what foam rollers have to offer and how you can start incorporating them into your fitness activities.
What Is Foam Rolling?
Foam rolling is a type of corrective exercise that helps relax the muscles, improve flexibility in muscles that have become tensed and tight over time, and it also helps relax the nervous system.
In order to do foam rolling exercises, one must have an actual foam roller. A foam roller is a cylindrical foam that has a variety of densities and textures.
Soft foam rollers are recommended for those who are just starting out since hard foam rollers would cause discomfort. However, if you are not new to foam rollers, you may choose one that has a hard inner plastic cylinder and a dense foam.
Further, ensure that you invest in a proper foam roller. Do not settle for cheap ones as they may turn out to be too soft and not provide any benefit to your muscles. We recommend a great one at the end of this article.
How To Use A Foam Roller?
In regards to how a foam rolling should be done, according to a fitness trainer:
- Pace does not matter much when it comes to foam rolling. It is more important to ensure that you are rolling the entirety of a specific targeted muscle.
- When foam rolling, make sure that the targeted muscle is in an extended position and is stretched.
- When using foam rollers, target the muscles that you have used during your workout. Ensure that you also roll on the muscles that are located below and above said muscles.
- Only roll on targeted muscle areas for a maximum of one minute. Do not exceed one minute of rolling on a particular muscle group.
Now that you know what’s a foam roller, let’s check out the main health benefits of foam rolling.
1. Prevents The Likelihood Of Developing Tissue Adhesions
Adhesions affect either organs or tissues and this is the body’s way of recovering due to injuries (trauma), infections, surgery (particularly abdominal surgery), radiation treatment, and endometriosis.
Adhesions may sound negative, however, this is a normal response coming from the body. The symptoms of adhesions will surely cause discomfort and the duration of symptoms would typically last for months or years.2
If you would like to avoid this, using foam rollers would be a great preventive tool to use. One foam rolling benefit is preventing the likelihood of developing tissue adhesions.
The layers in between skeletal muscles tend to form collagen due to inactivity, in turn, this would cause adhesions. When foam rollers are used as a form of exercise, this would create friction between the layers of the muscles and prevent collagen from forming.
2. Reduces Tightness In Tissue Segments & Gives Proper Muscle Balance
When a tissue segment tightens, it inhibits motion, once this happens, it makes it hard for the body to maintain its muscle balance. To prevent this from happening, use a foam roller before your workout or exercise.
3. Allows Better Blood Flow
Before workouts, it is advisable to use foam rollers since they prevent muscles and tissues from tightening.
Also, it allows for better blood flow and increases the temperature of tissues, in turn, this would make it easier for our muscles to perform better during workouts—this is especially true for complex workouts.
Using foam rollers during workouts is also advisable since it can reduce tension in the muscles. However, you must not use them too long during workouts as they may prevent muscles from contracting.
Read More: Health Benefits of Acupressure Slippers
4. Helps With Myofascial Release
Myofascial release is done to loosen or prevent muscles and fascia to enable the body to move freely.
A foam roller enables people to perform myofascial exercises, and in turn, this would ultimately help with delaying onset soreness in the muscles, muscle fatigue, and recovery.
Further, utilizing foam rollers would help improve flexibility when it is used before a workout session.3
5. Foam Rolling Helps You Relax
Several studies concluded that there are individuals that have used foam rollers and have benefited from them psychologically.
After engaging in numerous foam rolling exercises, these individuals felt relaxed, relieved from stress, and noticed an improvement in their mood.
Further, some athletes have shared that utilizing foam rollers were key to giving them that feeling of satisfaction after every workout session.
6. Reduces Soreness After Workout Sessions
After workout sessions, people tend to not do anything after, and this is the primary cause of adhesions. As aforementioned, adhesions are the body’s natural way of repairing tissues that have been damaged due to exercise.
During this recovery process, collagen is formed between the layers of the muscle to help speed up recovery. However, this recovery process can quickly turn into an uncomfortable experience if the muscles remain dormant for too long.
If the muscles do not move at all during the recovery process, then this would cause an excess of collagen production between muscle layers.
To prevent this from happening, using foam rollers after workouts would help the muscles move, even for a bit, to avoid soreness from adhesions.
7. Improves Sprinting & Flexibility (Pre-Workout)
Using foam rollers before you engage in your workout routine would grant short-term effects on the body such as flexibility and improvement in sprinting.
The foam rollers will ultimately increase the range of motion on the joints which is why people find themselves being able to perform exercises with ease thanks to the attained short-term flexibility.
Buy A Foam Roller Online
If you want to practice foam rolling at home, you can get this STRONG foam roller online at quite a descent price. It’s a medium density foam roller so it will suit the beginners but also the experienced users. An e-book is also included to learn how to use the foam roller properly.
Things To Know Before To Start Foam Rolling
It is imperative to know that foam rolling is not for everyone. Foam rolling exercises must be avoided by people with the following health conditions:
- Kidney failure
- Contagious skin conditions
- Organ failure
- Congestive heart failure
- Bleeding disorders
Those who have other health conditions that were not listed above must consult a doctor before they engage in foam rolling exercises.4
Further, if you are new to foam rollers, it is best to use a soft one for the first few sessions. This is to prevent feeling discomfort from hard foam rollers, then as you progress, you may switch to a harder one.
Ensure that you also concentrate on your breathing as you do foam rolling exercises, maintain pressure on the targeted muscle, and relax the muscle to achieve optimum results from foam rollers.
Foam rolling benefits are proven only to an extent. There is still so much to be studied when it comes to foam rollers, nevertheless, it has been proven that using foam rollers grant health benefits to people, especially in regards to helping loosen tension and soreness in muscles.
Foam rolling do have several health benefits and these can only be achieved if they are used before, during, and after a workout session. Also, take note that foam rollers may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with health conditions.
If you are looking for a device to use post work out, check out the health benefits of using a massage gun.