The Health Benefits of Using a Foam Roller
Adding sessions of foam rolling to your workout plan is a fantastic way to increase blood flow and prepare your muscles for exercise. Even if you don't exercise intensely, foam rolling eases aches, pains and tension caused by sitting at a computer all day.
The primary use of foam roller exercises is myofascial release, but rollers can also be used to train core strength and stability. When choosing a foam roller one of the factors you should consider is what you will use it for. For more information, check out How to Choose a Foam Roller.
What is Myofascial Release?
The superficial fascia is a soft connective tissue located just below the skin. It interconnects connects the muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels of your body. Together, muscle and fascia make up what is called the myofascia system. For numerous reasons such as disuse, lack of stretching or injury, the fascia and the underlying muscle may become stuck to one another. This is known as an adhesion and will cause restricted movement of muscles. It will also lead to pain, soreness and reduced flexibility.
Myofascial release is a technique in which gentle, continuous pressure is applied to the soft tissues and applying traction to the fascia. This results in the softening and lengthening (also known as 'release') of the fascia and breaking down scar tissue or adhesions between skin, muscles and bones.
Foam rollers are relatively inexpensive and allow you to target almost any muscle group. The latest style of textured foam rollers, like The Grid and the Rumble Roller, has a unique design and construction that provides a more targeted trigger point self massage.
Using a foam roller can increase your flexibility without the strength losses associated with massage or stretching, according to a recent study published by The National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Shin splints can be a nightmare for runners but foam rollers could be part of the miracle cure you're searching for! Personal trainer John Gibson talks about his 24 hour cure for shin splints: