How often do you get a massage? Once a week? Twice a year? Never? Massage has many incredible benefits for your body but, unfortunately, most people can’t afford regular massages. Good news! You can give yourself a mini massage every day.
Foam rolling, or myofascial release, is a self-massage technique that can help keep your body happy and healthy. There are many benefits of foam rolling, so make foam rolling part of your regular health and fitness routine.
What is a Foam Roller?
A foam roller is just what it sounds like: A tube-like device constructed of solid foam. Self-myofascial release, or self-massage, uses a foam roller to alleviate muscle tightness or trigger points that occur in your fascia tissue.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is a very densely woven tissue similar to a spider’s web that covers and interpenetrates every muscle, bone, nerve, artery, internal organ, and even your brain. Up until recently, physicians didn’t think much about this tissue.
While there is still heaps we don’t know about fascia, we do know it plays a significant role in the support and function of our bodies. In healthy bodies, fascia tissue is relaxed and flexible. But, after trauma, like a sports injury or car accident, fascia loses its flexibility and becomes tight and restricted, leading to tightness and pain in your body.
By rolling your muscles across a foam roller, you can help break up the tightness and keep your fascia flexible and relaxed. Not only will it help prevent future fitness-related injuries, but there are numerous benefits of foam rolling for your body.
5 Benefits of Foam Rolling
You may not have heard of foam rolling before or have seen one in a gym or physio office and wondered, “What the heck is that for?” Well, no matter hard weird it might look or the process sound, there are many benefits of foam rolling. Here’s 5:
Break Up Scar Tissue
Chances are you have scar tissue from old injuries throughout your body. You might not remember that fall from your pushbike when you were five years old, but your body does. Scars are tissue adhesions that form in the body after trauma and can affect your skin, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascia tissues.
Scars in our fascia tissue can hinder normal movement. Fascia tissue is designed to move smoothly with muscles, but if scars are present, then your movement can be disrupted and limited. Foam rolling places targeted pressure on your fascia and releases trigger points where you’re feeling pain. Eventually, with regular foam rolling, you’ll start to break up the scar tissue and regain normal movement and blood flow.
Improved Blood Circulation
The motion of rolling the foam roller across your various muscles helps stimulate your lymphatic and circulatory systems. In return, you get better oxygen delivery to your cells that helps with recovery and rejuvenation.
Your muscles and fascia tissues are designed to be mobile and functional. Unfortunately over time, due to injuries, age, and lifestyle choices, we start to lose mobility. Regular foam rolling sessions can help keep your tissues mobile, which might prevent some old injuries from popping up during your workouts when you thought you were fine.
For example, many runners suffer from injuries like IT Band Syndrome, Plantar Fasciitis, and tight hamstrings. Many of these injuries can be traced back to poor tissue mobility. Foam rolling can help break up these old scars and keep those areas mobile and flexible —a benefit of foam rolling guaranteed to turn a painful grimace into a smile of relief 🙂
Flexibility can be a double-edged sword depending on your sport of choice. Everyone can benefit from a healthy range of motion of joints and muscle. However, due to lifestyle choices like desk jobs, a majority of people do not have full range of motion. The more flexible your muscles are within the normal range of motion, the more power they can produce.
To increase your range of motion, foam roll before you begin your workout. Skip the static stretching that you were taught in gym class because research studies have shown that static stretching can decrease your performance. A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that foam rolling before a workout can dramatically increase your range of motion without decreasing your performance.
Massage is expensive. With the high costs of living in Sydney, a weekly massage is probably not in the budget. Foam rolling is a great “poor man’s massage”. All you have to purchase is a foam roller that will set you back about $20-$60, depending on the quality and type of foam roller you choose to buy.
There are many benefits of foam rolling for your body. While it would be amazing to have a massage on a daily basis, none of us can afford that until we’ve won the lottery. So, after your workout at Fitbodz Fitness Centre, try foam rolling, it’s a great alternative. Your body will thank you.