Foam rollers are everywhere these days — the gym, sporting goods store, fitness aisles of big box stores, Amazon, and more. If you’ve ever felt confused about what purpose a foam roller serves, and how to use one, you’re in good company.
Foam roller exercises, also called myofascial release, are a type of massage that helps loosen up sore muscles and joints, while aiding in muscle recovery. Myofascial release occurs when you apply pressure to affected areas on the body in order to eliminate adhesions and release tension. But why is this beneficial to your workout routine?
Here are 5 ways foam roller exercises can improve your workout:
1. Improved flexibility and range of motion. Foam roller exercises are a great way to decrease muscle tightness and improve flexibility before a workout, allowing you to hit the gym with your best foot forward.
2. Better circulation. Good circulation is important to overall health. Myofascial release improves circulation by breaking up the tight areas where blood flow has become restricted.
3. Reduces stress. Foam rolling can help reduce stress after a workout by lowering your cortisol levels, the hormone responsible for feeling stressed.
4. Decreases exercise-related soreness. Delayed onset muscle soreness is the pain and stiffness you feel in your muscles after an intense workout. DOMS usually sets in between 24-48 hours after finishing the exercise. Research shows that foam rolling reduces the chance of muscle soreness occurring, so you can get right back to the gym!
5. Injury prevention. Proper stretching and foam roller exercises before a workout can prevent many injuries associated with muscle tightness and overuse.
Sold on the idea of foam rolling to boost your workout performance? Check out this archive of foam roller exercises to get you started! It includes exercise descriptions and videos!