A foam roller is a piece of equipment coated with soft foam. This equipment is used for self-massage or self-myofascial release. The roller helps reduce inflammation, eases joint pain and enhances flexibility. Although a foam roller is used as self-massage equipment, it is quite useful as a pre and post workout massager. Apart from soothing tired muscles, a foam roller offers these surprising benefits:
Promotes Better Blood Flow
Sometimes you have to use a little pressure over the connective tissues and muscles to get the blood flowing and alleviating pain. You can use a foam roller to stretch tired, stiff muscles and loosen connective tissues before and after working out. When the soft tissues are getting all the blood they need, oxygen is injected into the spent muscles. This boosts healing and enhances blood flow to the organs.
Reduces Workout Injuries
No one is impervious to injuries, even pro athletes. But conditioning the muscles and connective tissues help reduce the risk of injuries during a workout. How? Flexing and massaging the muscles helps hydrate and loosen stiff muscles. When the muscles are much looser, there is less friction when they are pulled.
During a workout, prepped muscles move smoothly, which decreased pulled or damaged muscles. Foam rolling helps prep the muscles, especially before a very intense workout. The rolling action warms up the soft tissues and strengthens the muscles, all these translates to smoother movements. And if you are recovering from an injury, a foam roller helps train the injured muscles to get you back on your feet in no time at all.
Enhanced Range of Motion
Stretching and warming up the muscles and connective tissues are critical to boosting your body’s range of motion. When you stretch your muscles, the muscle fibers are lubricated and nourished with fresh blood. Isolating various muscle groups is much easier when your muscle fibers are flexible. Better range of motion enhances flexibility.
When you sustained an injury, the affected area does not get enough fresh blood and this will slow down your recovery. Foam rolling helps stimulate and concentrate blood flow to the injured area, allowing you to recover from an injury at half the time.
The rolling action also strengthens the joints and muscles, eliminating waste products such as lactic acid and cellular waste from the muscles. These liquid wastes are then replaced with fresh blood, triggering muscle repair. This is critical for your recovery. Your damaged muscles need as much fresh blood as possible to compel the muscle fibers to repair themselves.
Apart from alleviating pain, improving flexibility and reducing recovery time after an injury, foam rolling also enhances your weight loss efforts by energizing the muscles. When your muscles are at their peak, you can take on more challenges, producing faster results. And because you are seeing results, you are more likely to stick to your fitness routine and become more motivated to achieve your fitness goals.
Let’s face it, foam rolling is addictive because it is so soothing. Although working out is an excellent stress reliever, foam rolling does an equally good job alleviating stress.