After a hard work out, a stressful week or just for fun, one of life’s little pleasures is a wonderful massage. Working out the tension in sore muscles releases endorphins and aides in the recovery process. Although a sports massage can be trying or even painful at times on very sore muscles, the benefits outweigh any discomfort.
While massages are wonderful, they are not always practical. First you have to find a good, reliable massage therapist that understands what you want from a massage. There is a big difference between a nice rand relaxing Swedish massage and a more rigorous sports massage. Next you have to find the time and lastly massages can be expensive, especially when receiving them several times a month.
Thanks to modern sports medicine, you can now receive the healthy benefits in the comfort of your own home for a onetime expense of $30. You've seen them at the gym or on the shelf at Target, and you may even have one in your home. One of the best investments you can make is a foam roller.
According to Krysta Stryker, while it's necessary to work hard during your workouts, it's equally as important to make sure your body gets the recovery it needs. A foam roller is an excellent device to help isolate sore spots can be used several times a day and is the most affordable massage you can receive.
According to mindbodygreen.com, here are four convincing reasons to use your foam roller on a daily basis.’
Reduce soreness and tightness from exercise
Foam rolling right after your workout when you are warm or the next day can help reduce some of that soreness and tightness form previous workouts. Foam rolling massages away fascia buildup which leads to painful, sore muscles. Massaging warm muscles after a strenuous workout will help you recover for the next day’s exercise.
Flexibility is important to improved athletic performance, minimizes of injury and keep helps maintain strength and range of motions. Whatever exercise or athletic endeavor you undertake, foam rolling can improve your performance and make you a more flexible, healthier athlete in general.
When you work out hard, your muscles end up tight and develop knots from constant stress. And unless you want to pony up the cash to get a full body massage once or twice a week, your best bet for staying injury-free is to foam roll as often as possible.
When foam rolling out the tight spots, it prevents those areas from becoming injury trigger points which could eventually lead to a variety of issues. Sore or hot spots that are left unattended can lead to issues in other places as your body naturally compensates to take pressure off the injured area. This often results in a zigzag radius of issues in the body.
Foam rolling away the knots can help you de-stress at the end of a tough day—just like a massage would. When you release knots and sore spots, the tension built up in your connective tissue releases and leaves you feeling less stressed.
You can use a foam roller on any part of the body, but it's especially great for your calf muscles, back muscles, quads, hamstrings and gultes. Roll back and forth for 30 seconds to a minute for each muscle group. Any time you find a sore spot, you should make your best effort to stay there for around 15 seconds in order for the tissue to have time to release.
And be aware: if this is your first time foam rolling, you may find it painful—even excruciating—when you first start out. Keep with it for a few weeks and the pain will ease up.
To keep flexible, stress-free, and avoid injuries, you should aim to foam roll on a daily basis for 5 to 20 minutes. But even a few times a week will make a big difference!
Here is to being fit for a lifetime!
Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer, exercise and endurance enthusiast. He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events.