It is so important to take care of your body — not just with proper nutrition and exercise, but also by being proactive in injury prevention. One great way to do so is with foam rolling. Have you heard of foam rolling? You may have seen a foam roller, but had no idea what to do with it or what it’s used for. Foam rolling or “self-myofascial release” is done with a piece of dense foam and is considered an inexpensive deep tissue massage. By using the foam roller, you can improve your flexibility, function and performance while reducing injuries. Soft tissue is made up of a lot of components: muscle, tendon, ligament, fascia, neural system and joints. If one of these segments is underperforming, it will affect the entire chain, resulting in fatigue, over compensation and overload, which is likely to end in injury. Foam rolling can be done before or after you workout — or whenever you have an extra 10-15 minutes. The more often you do it, the better muscle balance and joint motion you will have. Note: Foam rolling can be pretty painful once your body weight pressure is applied, but that is your body telling you that you have knots and tightness. When you feel a spot that is painful, try and hold it for 30 seconds before moving to another area. The amount of pain you experience while rolling is a good indicator in how much muscle tension you have.
KEYS TO FOAM ROLLING
Never roll on a joint or bone. – If you find an area that is painful (trigger point), try and hold until it (the pain/tension) softens. – Try to focus on areas that have reduced range of motion or have tightness. – Some areas will feel very tender; try and roll over a few times until it relaxes. – Position foam roller under the area that you want to loosen; using your own body weight, gently roll back and forth until you find a trigger point and hold. – Take your time with this and be sure to hydrate well before and after.